Liverpool 4-3 Chelsea: Title hopes fade away for Emma Hayes’ Blues

The Barclays Women’s Super League title race is firmly in Manchester City’s hands, after Liverpool snatched a 4-3 win over Chelsea at Prenton Park on Wednesday.

Chelsea seized an early lead on Merseyside through Aggie Beever-Jones, but Matt Beard’s side dug deep and in an end-to-end encounter, it was Liverpool that emerged with all three points to deal a damaging blow to the Blues title hopes.

Chelsea sit six points behind Manchester City – but crucially have a game in hand.

As it happened

It took just nine minutes for Aggie Beever-Jones to hand Chelsea the lead at Prenton Park on a dreary midweek evening, nodding home from a Catarina Macario cross, but Emma Hayes’ side would be made to pay for seemingly settling after that point

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Sophie Roman Haug netted at the start of the second half to drag Liverpool back into contention, and when Gemma Bonner found the back of the net from a corner on her 150th appearance with the club, Chelsea’s title hopes looked to be dead and buried.

Beever-Jones restored parity as the clock ticked into the final ten minutes, but Chelsea’s relief would be remarkably short-lived – Leanne Kiernan struck gold just seconds later, firing past Hannah Hampton to once again deal a killer blow to the Blues title hopes.

In truth, anything other than three points would leave their dreams in doubt, and so even when Liverpool’s Teagan Micah found the back of her own net in the 83rd minute, celebrations were subdued – only spurred on by the prospect of momentum swinging in Chelsea’s favour.

That wasn’t to be though: as the clock ticked into nine minutes of stoppage time, Bonner rose highest to slam home her second goal of the evening, leaving Hayes emotional on the touchline as Chelsea’s uphill struggle for the WSL title grows ever steeper.

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When Emma Hayes announced her decision to step away from Chelsea earlier this season, the prospect of a quadruple was on the cards – and at times, it looked almost inevitable. Now, with just two and a half weeks left of the 2023/24 season, the 47-year-old looks set to bow out empty-handed memories of her successful years gone by to soften the blow.

Post-match reactions

The lineups

LIV: Micah; Fisk, Bonner, Clark; Hinds, Holland, Nagano, Höbinger, Koivisto; Haug, Enderby

CHE: Hampton; Charles, Bright, Carter, Lawrence; Kirby, Nüsken, Cuthbert; Beever-Jones, Mácario, Rytting Kaneryd