Chelsea 5-1 Liverpool: Lauren James bags three at Stamford Bridge as Blues remain unbeaten

Both teams came into Saturday’s game in a great run of form, with Chelsea sitting unbeaten at the top of the table. The slight disappointment of a midweek draw in Madrid was at the back of their minds as they played host to Liverpool, who had only lost one of their opening fixtures against Everton.

CHE: Musovic, Perisset, Mjelde, Carter, Charles, Ingle, Beever-Jones, Nusken, Cuthbert, James, Kerr
LIV: Laws, Koivisto, Clark, Bonner, Fisk, Hinds, Höbinger, Nagano, Holland, van de Sanden, Román Haug

The game started as many expected with Chelsea dominating the play – but just as Liverpool looked to be gaining momentum, Lauren James put the Blues ahead with 11 minutes gone by beating her defender and cooly slotting it into the side netting past the keeper.

The lead didn’t last long however as after a brilliant bit of skill, Marie Hobinger gave herself the room in the midfield third to play a pass that would set Shanice van de Sanden loose down the right-hand side. After a brilliant run, she managed to play the ball across the goal which, amidst a sea of bodies, ended up in the Chelsea net after an unfortunate own goal from Jess Carter.

Before the half-hour mark, Emma Hayes’ side reclaimed the lead after Sam Kerr linked up with Lauren James – who again influenced play with a left-footed cross floated into the back post. Aggie Beever-Jones left Rachael Laws helpless, as she put the league leaders back ahead with a fantastic headed effort.

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Marie Höbinger made way for fan favourite Missy Bo Kearns at the start of the second half – and Liverpool looked to be more energetic as a result. Much like the first half though, they were wasteful in possession and failed to test the Chelsea backline.

Liverpool’s wastefulness was capitalised on by the Blues‘ when Australian Sam Kerr held up play brilliantly, then slotting Lauren James though on goal – who was clinical again in front of goal as she rifled it past Laws once again to extend the Chelsea lead.

Kerr herself then had a chance in front of goal after a mistake by Kearns in midfield led to a Chelsea counter, however the Liverpool local would be thankful for her ‘keeper who saved well to her right.

But the pressure continued to mount, and the arrival of Johanna Rytting Kaneryd compounded that as less than 2 minutes after her introduction, a brilliant cut-in and pass from the right-hand side set up Lauren James to complete her hat-trick.

Kaneryd again made an impact off the bench as she dazzled the Liverpool backline and set up her second of the afternoon, this time for Chelsea’s Sjoeke Nusken to put the hosts 5-1 up.

A brilliant afternoon from the Blues‘ will give them momentum heading into their midweek clash with Paris FC in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, whilst Matt Beard will try to pick his side up and bounce back against Manchester United in the Conti Cup on Wednesday evening.