Bethany England and Fran Kirby (L) of Chelsea look dejected following defeat in the FA Women’s Super League match vs Liverpool (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
For the second straight season running, the Chelsea Women start off on the wrong foot away from Kingsmeadow as they shockingly drop all three points to newly promoted Liverpool.
On a day in the Women’s Super League that was filled with upsets, it was only fitting that the Blues received a much-needed wake-up call for the team they may never have expected from the newest member of the WSL. Two penalties by the American forward Katie Stengal in the second half left the Blues stunned, as CFC controlled most of the ball but failed to create quality opportunities. When Fran Kirby netted a penalty in the third minute of the match, the Blues looked like they were going to continue to add to their lead.
Just 17 minutes later, Kirby found Kerr over the top, and the Australian found the back of the net with a world-class volley on her right foot. A controversial offside call by the assistant referee overruled the goal, and instead of the Blues’ adding another one at a crucial point in the contest, the Reds’ were still very much in the game. An unfortunate handball in the box by Millie Bright, and a strong tackle on a Liverpool counter by Kadeisha Buchanan cost Chelsea all three points, epitomizing the idea that it was simply not the Blues’ day at Preston Park.
All of the anticipation and build-up for months before the season with kick-off being at Stamford Bridge to Chelsea having to travel nearly four hours north to face the newest club in the WSL are two completely different animals. The last time the Blues lost their first match of the season, Chelsea would go on to win two domestic trophies, and with Manchester City on the horizon, the mental fortitude of this group will be tested once again.
Following the defeat, Emma Hayes expressed her thoughts on the match, stating:
“Firstly congratulations to Liverpool. They did their game plan well. We knew about the long throw from Campbell…The second penalty we should defend that better. I thought going forward we weren’t good enough. Nothing went where it was supposed to go. We’re disappointed but we go. They play a 5-4-1 and they don’t come out. They have maximized the opportunities. We couldn’t hit a barn door today.”