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Manchester United settle for second despite victory over Liverpool



Manchester United settle for second despite victory over Liverpool

Manchester United have ended the season as Barclays Women’s Super League runners-up despite recording a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Prenton Park this afternoon.

It was not to be for The Red Devils. While they were able to claim the victory that they needed over Liverpool, Chelsea’s 3-0 win against Reading earned the South West Londoners their fourth consecutive league title at Manchester United’s expense.

The first half passed without incident for the most part with only Ona Batlle’s cross troubling the Liverpool goal as the ball rebounded off the woodwork. That was until the game entered stoppage time when a long ball over the top of the Liverpool defence from Katie Zelem found Nikita Parris. The forward sweetly struck the bouncing ball but Liverpool keeper Rachael Laws was able to brush it onto the far upright with her fingertips.

The second half continued in much the same vein with neither team able to carve out too many clear-cut chances. Emma Koivisto had Liverpool’s best opportunity when she met a low cross into the box, however, Mary Earps got across well and parried the ball away to safety.

Manchester United’s season looked to be dwindling out to a limp finale until Lucía García entered the game. It is something that the Manchester United faithful have come to expect from the Spaniard and she popped up with a winning goal once again from the bench. The attacker got on the end of a long ball and while her first attempt completely bypassed the ball, she drilled her effort beyond Laws at the second time of asking.

That single goal was enough to earn Manchester United the three points but sadly for them, they could do nothing to stop Chelsea claiming top spot once again. Nevertheless, it is The Red Devils’ highest-ever finish in the Barclays Women’s Super League and with UEFA Women’s Champions League football coming to Leigh next season, it could give them the lift needed to close the gap. As for Liverpool, they finish seventh, a more than respectable placing in their first year back in the top flight.

Ryan Lee Gregory

I am Ryan Lee Gregory a writer and reporter for FA Women’s Super League Full-Time. I am also a documentary filmmaker.


Liverpool should trial wildcard Andy Robertson replacement as Jürgen Klopp has experiment chance

During Liverpool’s training session on Thursday ahead of the weekend’s trip to Southampton, left-back Andy Robertson encountered an issue.

According to manager Jürgen Klopp, Robertson ‘felt something’ in his groin and had to undergo a scan. Fortunately, the results looked ‘fine’, but Klopp didn’t disclose whether he would be in the starting line-up for the trip to St Mary’s.

“We have to see how we can deal with that,” he told the assembled media during his press conference.

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It wouldn’t be a surprise if Liverpool decided to adopt a zero-risk approach and leave Robertson out, given that there’s nothing to play for with fifth place already confirmed.

What’s more, Robertson will be captaining Scotland in a couple of European Championship qualifiers next month and that may be his priority at this stage.

The natural alternative would be to use Kostas Tsimikas, the 29-year-old’s deputy.

But Liverpool’s objective on Sunday should simply be to learn as much as it possibly can from the dead rubber, and Klopp may glean more from trying Joe Gomez at left-back than using Tsimikas.

Joe Gomez should play at left-back for Liverpool against Southampton

It’s easy to forget that Gomez can play there. We’ve come to classify him as a center-half who can operate as a right-back, and he’s split his minutes between those two roles this season, with the majority coming through the middle.

But if you go back to his debut season at the club following his move from Charlton, Brendan Rodgers actually used him as a left-back for the first five matches.

That campaign ended with a cruciate ligament injury in October, but nearly eight years down the line, it could prove to be a meaningful glimpse of Gomez’s versatility.

In Liverpool’s new system, Robertson often has to tuck in to form a back three when Liverpool has the ball. That’s because Trent Alexander-Arnold pushes into midfield, and Klopp needs to ensure there’s adequate cover.

Some, however, have raised concerns about Robertson’s suitability for this role. There’s a belief that it highlights some defensive weaknesses and minimizes his offensive strengths, and a risk that he’ll push forward too readily.

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Tsimikas is very similar to Robertson in style, and up to this point that’s been a blessing, offering an effective clone for the Scotsman when he’s injured or fatigued. Now, however, it may be a curse for Tsimikas, because Liverpool could do with a substantively different option.

Gomez fits the bill as a natural defender who doesn’t have the same attacking instincts as the aforementioned duo. Using a player of that mold may actually be better for balance.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be him either. Sunday’s game could simply be a trial of how a wide center-half would work as an inverted left-back in this new-look Liverpool side.

This doesn’t have to be a game the Reds simply tick off before going on their holidays. Instead, it can see Klopp try out some bold ideas to unlock the full potential of a nascent formula.

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