Back in mid-September last year, in the 2022-23 season’s opening match, Liverpool showed Chelsea Women and the rest of the league they were a side that should be taken seriously. The recently promoted outfit took the title defenders down 2-1 at their turf and already made the Women’s Super League championship run much messier than most of us expected.
They would be looking to repeat the feat today at Kingsmeadow, and they were quite successful in doing so. Less than two minutes into the match, fullback Emma Koivisto made an unmarked far post run to get her side in front of the Blues.
The hosts were obviously stunned by the quick counter and ensuing Liverpool goal. After taking a few minutes to recover, Chelsea would go on to dominate on every meaningful statistic on the pitch in an attempt to overcome Liverpool.
Many times we tried, and many we faltered to find the tying goal. That lasted until minute 41 when Niamh Charles, rising in the box after an Ève Périsset corner kick, headed the ball into the back of our opponent’s net.
Chelsea continued to press in the first half, and in the second half as well. Manager Emma Hayes introduced Pernille Harder and Jelena Cankovic to the pitch in an attempt to find a second goal but Liverpool’s defence and their shot-stopper, Faye Kirby, were determined to make the Blues’ job as hard as possible.
An honest assessment of Chelsea Women this season would have to highlight how the Blues really miss the spark of their star players. With Fran Kirby injured, Harder in recovery, and players such as James and Sam Kerr far from their best, even a completely dominant performance from the team like today’s is no longer a victory guarantee.
But when our hopes were almost completely drowned, Jessie Fleming floated to the top of the current. A great strike from distance hit the post, but still fell near Kerr so the striker could complete the comeback.
Chelsea’s retreat in their attempt to hold onto the lead in the final minutes of the game did shake fans a bit. But the Blues defence was very keen on not letting any funny business take place again.
- Jess Carter starts in central defence in place of Maren Mjelde, while Jessie Fleming takes over central attacking midfield duty with Jelena Cankovic on the bench.
- Subs are Pernille Harder for Lauren James, Jelena Cankovic for Erin Cuthbert, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Melanie Leupolz, and Sophie Ingle for Jessie Fleming.
- Liverpool are treacherous!
- After the Reds’ goal Chelsea’s dominance was a nice sight. However it felt more like a product of circumstances, with Liverpool now allowed to retreat to their shells, rather than something we really deserved.
- Nice header, Niamh!
- A spark of brilliance when we needed it the most. Thank you, Jessie Fleming!
- Next up: Everton at home in the Women’s Super League.