Two second-half penalties from Katie Stengel earned Liverpool a shock 2-1 win over title holders Chelsea on their WSL return in front of a record-breaking crowd at Prenton Park.
The champions looked set for a routine evening when they were awarded the first penalty of the game inside two minutes. Gilly Flaherty’s clumsy challenge on Guro Reiten saw referee Emily Heaslip point to the spot. Euro 2022 winner Fran Kirby then converted on her first appearance for Chelsea since February.
But the Blues were guilty of not taking their chances, with Sam Kerr, in particular, cutting a frustrated figure up front, as Liverpool stepped up their game in the second half in front of 3,006 fans – the highest ever attendance for a Liverpool Women’s match at Prenton Park.
Flaherty redeemed herself from the first half when she helped win Liverpool’s first penalty. Her flick-on from a long Megan Campbell throw hit Millie Bright on the arm and she was penalised for handball. Stengel – making her WSL debut – stepped up and easily dispatched past Zecira Musovic.
Stengel then won the second penalty, fouled by Chelsea debutant Kadeisha Buchanan inside the area. The American forward kept her composure once again and it proved to be the winner, with the Blues unable to find a reply to Liverpool’s spirited display.
There were jubilant scenes among the Reds at full-time, inflicting Chelsea’s first defeat in 2022. The WSL title holders have now lost their opening game in the last two seasons.
More to follow…
Both teams have big WSL matches next weekend. Liverpool take on Everton in the first Merseyside derby of the season at Anfield next Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 6.45pm. Chelsea also host Man City on the same day; kick-off 4pm.