The atrocious refereeing that robbed Chelsea of a win against Real Madrid on Wednesday may still be on everyone’s minds, but there’s no way to change that now. Time to focus on the next challenge instead.
The Blues are back on the pitch today — and not just any old pitch, but the one at Stamford Bridge for the first time since opening day — as we take on Liverpool in the Women’s Super League.
Considering the quick turnaround form Wednesday night, Emma Hayes might rotate the squad a bit, though the Reds have made a habit of being a thorn in the sides of title contenders. Still, Chelsea are the clear favorites for this one no matter our starting eleven — or the level of refereeing (hopefully).
Date / Time: Saturday, November 18, 2023, 13.30 GMT; 8:30am ET; 7pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6, UK
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Forecast: Light rain and a moderate breeze
On TV: BBC One (UK); CBS Sports (US); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (UK); none (US)
Chelsea team news: We’re still missing Guro Reiten and Melanie Leupolz, while Catarina Macario is not expected to back until 2024. Kateřina Svitková may be even longer.
Emma Hayes doesn’t expect this match to be a breeze, but perhaps we can use the ridiculousness of Wednesday to produce a great performance.
“Liverpool are the most improved team in the league. Four games unbeaten but the way they play, their physicality, their press makes it difficult for you to build-up.
“They are prepared to do the hard work, but then they in return play in a 3-1-6 and they shove six bodies high against your line.
“They’re really difficult, really brave and really aggressive getting numbers into the box. The team are under no illusions.”
-Emma Hayes; source: Chelsea FC
Liverpool team news: Liverpool’s improvement has a lot to do with the work of manager Matt Beard, who took over in 2021-22 when they were still in the second division.
They’re hoping to continue their upwards trajectory with summer signings like defender Grace Fisk and midfielder Marie Höbinger, who are already making big impacts at both ends of the pitch. No team in the WSL have conceded fewer goals than Liverpool’s four, while Höbinger leads the team in scoring.
“This game against Chelsea will be the ultimate challenge. They are a world-class side under Emma Hayes, who has done a fantastic job, [but] we are in a good place, we played well in the two games against Chelsea last season.
“They have had a great start to the season, it’s going to be great to play at Stamford Bridge and we will go there with confidence. We have done well on the road this year, we feel we are playing well, and we definitely know there is more to come from us.”
-Matt Beard; source: The Liverpool Offside
The Reds will be without defender Jasmine Matthews due to a hamstring tear. But defender and captain Niamh Fahey and midfielder Emma Koivisto should be back just in time to face us.
Previously: Chelsea made hard work of it at Kingsmeadow back in May, but we still came out on top, 2-1.