United open the scoring against Liverpool

Report: United Women 6 Liverpool 0

Sunday 15 January 2023 16:36

Manchester United Women moved into second in the WSL after a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Liverpool, in front of a record Leigh Sports Village crowd for the team on Sunday afternoon.

Lucia Garcia gave Marc Skinner’s side the lead in the opening five minutes of the game, getting on the end of Ona Batlle’s ball into the box. 

Dominating the first 45, the Reds went two to the good through Alessia Russo – assisted by Ella Toone – on the 24th-minute mark, before Hayley Ladd’s headed finish put us 3-0 up before the break. 

For all Liverpool’s efforts in the second half, Emma Koivisto’s own goal on the hour mark helped us get further control of the game. On late in the contest, both Martha Thomas and Rachel Williams got on the scoresheet to seal a 6-0 victory over the Merseyside club, on our return to WSL action following the winter break.
Our Spanish duo - Garcia and Batlle - linked up to give United the lead.
From the very first whistle, United were a dominant force against Matt Beard’s Liverpool side. 

Our goal threat was evident from the off, and Toone came close to opening the scoring within four minutes after a great run from Nikita Parris, but our no.7’s effort was just over. Minutes later, however, the Reds were in front. A wonderfully crafted move from Skinner’s side saw Batlle pick the ball up down the right before fizzing it into the path of fellow Spaniard Garcia, whose first-time effort took a fortunate deflection off Gemma Bonner to give us the lead. 

Left-back Hannah Blundell very nearly doubled our advantage almost instantly, after running onto a loose ball in the box, but her effort bounced narrowly wide of the goal. 
That second goal would come on the 24th-minute mark, courtesy of striker Russo. Ladd intercepted the ball deep in the Liverpool half, where Toone was alert to it. The midfielder was quick to play in Russo, and our no.23 took her shot on the turn to catch Rachael Laws off guard and put us two to the good. 

The closest Beard’s side came in the opening 45 was from a long-range effort that Yana Daniels unleashed. Mary Earps had it covered, though, as her effort went just over the bar. 

Minutes before the half-time whistle, Ladd added a third to United’s tally. Batlle was involved yet again, lifting a sublime cross into the back post where our no.12 was waiting. The Welsh international redirected her header across goal and into the opposite corner to put us in cruise control heading into the break. 
Chasing the game, Liverpool came out into the second half with a point to prove. Beard’s side approached with intent, chasing down the ball and putting United’s backline under pressure. 

Second-half substitute, Missy Bo Kearns, was on the end of a free-kick for the visitors just outside of our area, but her effort curled just wide of Earps’ goal.

Despite our opposition enjoying more spells of possession, we showed our clinical edge just after the hour mark to score a fourth of the game. Batlle pinged the ball into the box from the right, where Turner fired an effort towards goal – her shot deflected off Emma Koivisto and into the goal to all but guarantee the points. 
Turner's strike forced an own goal that would make it 4-0.
WIth the Reds in control, Skinner opted to make a handful of substitutions as we headed into the closing stages of the game – one of which was the introduction of Thomas. United’s no.9 wasted no time in getting involved, scoring just two minutes after being brought on, finishing off a peach of a pass from Toone. 

In the latter stages of the game, goalscorer Ladd turned creator after nicking the ball back on the edge of Liverpool’s area before lifting a ball into the box. Williams, five minutes after coming onto the pitch, completed the scoring with a towering header at the back post. 

The epic display was watched by a packed-out LSV, with 7,666 of you in the crowd to help us register a record Leigh Sports Village crowd for a United Women fixture. 
Thomas was one of multiple Reds to make an impact from the bench.

United XI: Earps; Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell (Thorisdottir 70); Ladd, Zelem; Garcia (Thomas 70), Toone (Boe Risa 77), Parris (Leon 77); Russo (Williams 79).

Unused substitutes: Baggaley, Mannion, Tounkara, Moore. 

Goals: Garcia 6; Russo 24; Ladd 41; Koivisto own goal 63; Thomas 72; Williams 84. 

Bookings: Zelem 49.

Liverpool XI: Laws; Koivisto, Bonner (Robe 77), Fahey, Campbell, Hinds (Lundgaard 64); Lawley, Matthews, Holland (Humphrey 85), Van de Sanden (Kearns 45); Daniels (Furness 77). 

Unused substitutes: Kirby. 

Bookings: Van de Sanden 46; Bonner 53.