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London Bees v Brighton and Hove Albion Women - FA Women’s Continental League Cup

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Lasses Match Preview: Sunderland take on Liverpool in the Women’s Championship this afternoon!

Can Sunderland Ladies come away with points from Prenton Park this afternoon? We’ve got all the details ahead of the game.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

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Sunday 13 February 2021

Liverpool FC Women v Sunderland AFC Ladies

FA Women’s Championship

Tranmere Rovers FC, Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH42 9PY

Kick-Off: 14:00

Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Adults £6.50, Concessions £4. Available from the Liverpool FC website.

Travel: As usual, if you're reading this you’ve missed the last train from the north east that will get you to Birkenhead in time for the game. If you're driving there, parking next to the ground is free and all the information on how to get there is on the Liverpool website.

Coverage: Updates on Twitter via @SAFCLadies and we’ll be sharing photos, videos and comments on the game throughout via the @RokerReport account

Highlights: The FA Player will have highlights and a full match replay from Monday afternoon.

Podcast: All things being well, we will have the Lasses Podcast Live as usual on Monday night, 8.30-9.30 pm.

The build-up...

Like last week’s opponents Sheffiled United, Liverpool are another side that Sunderland have beaten on penalties this season in the Conti Cup. This is a game that the Lasses will need to watch over and again before today’s matchup, as the memory of that gutsy battling performance at Eppleton in December will give them a lot of confidence going into this one.

It was only the bizarre Conti Cup rules that awarded only 2 points for a penalty shootout win as well as handing a point to the losing side for the “draw” that saw Liverpool progress in the competition at Sunderland’s expense.

The club and the manager have been pretty quiet recently, no interview in the Echo, very little on the website, social media but Mel Reay did give a few words to the club’s website earlier in the week about the challenge facing her team today:

They’re big favourites going into the game sitting top of the league and they’re flying, so we need to be at our best. We beat them once in the Conti Cup and there’s no reason why we can’t go there and get something again.

Neve Herron received a call up to the England development squad for a tournament in Marbella this week, but she should be available to play in this one before she joins Libby McInnes (England Under 18s), Grace Ede (England Under 17s) and Maria Farrugia (Malta) on international duty. This is also the last game of Grace McCatty’s three game ban, and we should expect the gaffer to retain the 5-4-1 formation that has seen Sunderland’s performance improve markedly in the last two fixtures despite the absence of some experienced senior players.

The Merseyside outfit are a formidable proposition in the league, unbeaten since the first game of the season and a full nine points clear of second-placed Charlton Athletic. Matt Beard’s side are full-time professionals, with internationals like former Sunderland star Rachel Furness who would claim a spot in many WSL sides. Beard told the Liverpool website this week that he was looking forward to

We are really looking forward to it and they have changed their shape in the last few games. Fingers crossed, we can put in another good performance to get us the three points.

Going into this international break, we can be proud of the work we have put in so far, and never in my wildest dreams did I expect that potentially we could have taken maximum points up until this point.

I see the commitment levels on the training pitch day in, day out from these players and I see the togetherness of this group.

The Stats...

The head-to-head stats on this one were only ever going to confirm what we already know - Liverpool are far and away the best side in the Championship this season.

Nevertheless, their home form has been not quite as good as their away form, and they only score just over a goal a game at Prenton Park - only eight in seven games. But they’re mean at the back, conceding only 0.3 goals on average at home, and have kept clean sheets 70% of the time. They’ve only conceded five all season.

The Reds’ xG is the best in the division, their xGA is the best in the division. Statistically, and from everything we’ve seen with our own eyes, they’re the best in the division.

On the plus side, Sunderland away from home tend to score, and average 0.86 away from home. Our xGA away is middling for the division at just under a goal a game, and our xG is also a mid-table ranking of 0.88.

So of course, is predicting this one as a home win by a goal or two. But we will have so see if the past predicts the future this afternoon.

League Form (last 5 FA Women’s Championship Fixtures)

Sunderland AFC Ladies - LDLLL

Liverpool FC Women - WWWW

Head to head...

(All venues, all competitions, including friendlies)

Played - 13

Sunderland Wins - 2

Draws - 3

Liverpool Wins - 8

Sunderland Goals - 10

Liverpool Goals - 33

Sunderland Ladies v Liverpool Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship
Leanne Kiernan of Liverpool scores their side’s second goal during the Barclays FA Women’s Championship match between Sunderland Ladies and Liverpool Women at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground on November 20, 2021 in Hetton-le-Hole, England.
Photo by Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Last time out...

Wednesday 15th December 2021, Eppleton CW

Sunderland 0-0 Liverpool (Sunderland won 2-4 on pens)

One to watch... Leanne Kiernan

The top goalscorer in the Championship this season, 22-year-old Irish international striker Keirnan is a real superstar of the game in the making. She has 12 goals in 11 league games, and her screamer against Blackburn in January made Liverpool’s goal of the month shortlist. Her Wyscout stats speak for themselves, she’s dangerous in the box, dominates central defences and scores from centrally.

Born in County Cavan in the rural north of the Republic, Kiernan came through at Shelbourne in Dublin before moving to England with West Ham United in 2018 where she worked under Matt Beard and came off the bench in the 2019 FA Cup Final loss to Man City.

Her move to Liverpool last summer reunited her with her old coach, and she’s hardly looked back since. With 22 caps and five goals for her country already, she will surely be a mainstay of this squad as they progress back to the WSL next season.


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