Liverpool stun champions Chelsea on emphatic return to Women’s Super League

Liverpool beat Chelsea in WSL

Liverpool earned a stunning 2-1 victory over Chelsea on their return to the Women’s Super League.

The Reds were playing their first WSL match since 2020, having been relegated to the Championship two seasons ago.

They went on a 19-match winning streak to earn promotion back to the top flight last season, and added a number of impressive signings over the summer.

But few would have predicted Liverpool to beat Chelsea on the first day of the season, especially after Matt Beard’s side went 1-0 down in the third minute.

Liverpool 2 – 1 Chelsea

Gilly Flaherty fouled Guro Reiten in the penalty box in the opening moments of the game, with Fran Kirby successfully converting the spot kick.

A rout was on the cards, and Liverpool were fortunate to see Sam Kerr’s half-volley into the back of the net ruled offside. But the Reds impressed defensively to prevent Chelsea from scoring any more goals in the first half.

The dynamics of the match changed when Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the 67th minute. Megan Campbell had launched a long throw into the Chelsea box and the resulting chaos saw the ball hit Millie Bright’s hand.

Katie Stengel stepped up to take the penalty, sending goalkeeper Zećira Mušović the wrong way.

The American was then called upon to score the winner after she was fouled by Kadeisha Buchanan in the box.

With just three minutes left on the clock, Stengel showed nerves of steel to calmly put Liverpool in front.

The final whistle sparked jubilant celebrations among a record 3,006 fans at Prenton Park.

Women’s Super League opening weekend

Chelsea may be bidding to win a fourth successive WSL title, but Liverpool have top-flight pedigree of their own.

The Reds won the WSL in 2013 and 2014 under Beard’s guidance, with the manager returning to the club last season after a six-year absence.

This evening’s victory will have delighted other teams in the WSL, who will be hoping to usurp Chelsea as English champions.

Liverpool star Katie Stengel
BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Katie Stengel of Liverpool celebrates with teammates after scoring their side’s second goal from the penalty spot during the FA Women’s Super League match between Liverpool FC Women and Chelsea FC Women at Prenton Park on September 18, 2022 in Birkenhead, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Arsenal and Manchester United enjoyed a resounding start to the season, with both teams triumphing 4-0 against Brighton and Reading respectively.

Ashleigh Neville scored a sumptuous long-range strike to help Tottenham Hotspur to a 2-1 win against Leicester City.

Aston Villa then won a seven-goal thriller against Manchester City, securing a 4-3 victory, while West Ham edged past Everton 1-0.

Beth Mead, Maya Le Tissier and Rachel Daly have been among the standout stars from the opening weekend of matches.

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Mary Earps

We’ll start off with England’s heroic goalkeeper in the final…

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