Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa: Liverpool remain unbeaten as Villa suffer second successive loss

With Miri Taylor’s goal at Emirates Stadium having guided Liverpool to a remarkable opening day win against Arsenal, Matt Beard’s side would look to build upon that positive momentum as they welcomed Carla Ward’s Aston Villa to Prenton Park.

LIV: Laws; Clark, Bonner, Fisk; Hinds, Höbinger, Nagano, Koivisto; Holland; Daniels, Kearns

AVL: van Domselaar; Turner, Corsie, Patten, Mayling; Staniforth, Parker; Lehmann, Nobbs, Leon; Daly

A mild Sunday evening at Prenton Park saw Liverpool start as the brighter of the two sides as Taylor Hinds delivered the ball into the Villa box, although her delivery flew past the intended target’s head. Moments later, Hinds swung another great ball into the box – only for Emma Koivisto’s far post effort to fly just wide of the bottom left corner.

While Matt Beard’s side had enjoyed the stronger start, Villa were growing into the game and had started to create chances, with Rachel Daly’s header from Lucy Staniforth’s cross flying just wide of the near post. A beautiful team move from Carla Ward’s side followed shortly after, with Sarah Mayling’s wonderful cross in from the right finding Daly – but the England international’s second headed chance in a matter of minutes drifted just wide of the left post.

Liverpool’s fast start was rewarded just inside the 20th minute, as Ceri Holland’s burst of pace down the left hand side saw the midfielder curl in a beautiful ball which was headed away by Danielle Turner. However, the ball landed beautifully for Marie Höbinger, who cut inside and bent a wonderful effort into the top-left corner past the outstretching Daphne van Domselaar in the Villa goal to mark her home debut for the Reds.

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The Reds’ evening could have got even better just six minutes later, but Yana Daniels’ effort from Emma Koivisto’s cutback was saved excellently by Villa stopper Daphne van Domselaar. Taylor Hinds then won the ball off Sarah Mayling and advanced forward, before cutting inside and seeing her attempt hit the side netting instead of squeaking in at the near post. 

Adriana Leon then found herself inside Liverpool box at the other end and sought to tee up Jordan Nobbs at the far post, but the English winger’s goalbound effort was miraculously cleared off the line by Emma Koivisto at the last minute.

Just before the half-time whistle, Jordan Nobbs found Alisha Lehmann down the left, with the Swiss international’s shot stinging the palms of Rachael Laws in the Liverpool goal.

Villa took their growing confidence into the second half, and almost punished Rachael Laws after the goalkeeper made a terrible error, which granted half-time substitute Ebony Salmon the ball in a one-on-one situation – but the English forward couldn’t apply the finish to pull Carla Ward’s side back level. 

Emma Koivisto was a prominent figure in this clash, and the Liverpool right-back could have had a goal to her name in the 51st minute, only for the effort to drift just wide of the far post.

The next half-chance for either side didn’t arrive until the 69th minute, as Missy Bo Kearns advanced forward down the right hand side, but the forward’s subsequent shot was collected comfortably by Daphne van Domselaar. 

With just under fifteen minutes to go, Liverpool launched a dangerous counter attack through substitute Melissa Lawley down the left hand side, who had to shrug off Lucy Parker before firing the ball into the Villa box. There, it was met by her fellow substitute Natasha Flint, who turned and finished wonderfully past van Domselaar to seal the three points for Matt Beard’s side.

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Liverpool sit level on points with Leicester City at the top of the Barclays Women’s Super League table, although they occupy the second spot having scored less than the Foxes. Those two sides will clash in midweek as they dispute the first match of the Continental Tyres Cup.

Matt Beard’s side host Everton at Anfield next weekend, while Aston Villa travel to Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal.