Liverpool absorbed Arsenal’s pressure and made the hosts pay to secure a memorable opening-day win in front of a huge crowd at Emirates StadiumMiri Taylor’s second-half strike gave Liverpool a shock victory away at Arsenal in front of a record Women’s Super League crowd at Emirates Stadium.
January signing Taylor pounced from Missy Bo Kearns’ cross to slot in the only goal of the game shortly after half-time, rewarding a resilient and organised performance from the injury-hit visitors, who won away from home in the WSL for the first time first time since January 2020.
The Reds finished in seventh last season, four places and 24 points behind their opponents, but secured a surprise opening day victory for the second year in a row after beating eventual champions Chelsea at the start of 2022-23.
The 54,115-strong crowd was the biggest in the history of the Women’s Super League.
Follow Sunday’s WSL live reactionArsenal applied almost all of the pressure in the first half, but Reds goalkeeper Rachael Laws clawed out Lotte Wubben-Moy’s header with an impressive reflex stop as they doggedly under the animated guidance of manager Matt Beard, repelling wave after wave of crosses into the box.
Liverpool captain Taylor Hinds almost scored during her side’s best spell of the opening period as the Reds grew in confidence, but Jen Beattie produced a vital block after goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger spilled a cross.
Kearns then curled an eye-catching free-kicking narrowly wide to worry Zinsberger again soon afterwards.
Arsenal recovered and went close when Frida Maanum’s powerful strike was beaten over the crossbar by Laws, and substitute Victoria Pelova’s close-range strike was alertly blocked by Gemma Bonner.
England forward Alessia Russo endured a frustrating afternoon, managing only one attempt at goal and three touches inside the penalty area, before being replaced during the second half as her side toiled for an equaliser.
Arsenal are expected to challenge for the WSL title this season and will be bitterly disappointed to have started with an unexpected defeat.
The Gunners are next in action when they visit Manchester United on Friday, while Liverpool play their first home game of the campaign against Aston Villa on Sunday.
Line-upsArsenal WomenFormation 3-4-3
1Zinsberger3Wubben-MoySubstituted forIlestedtat 64’minutes5Beattie7Catley24LacasseSubstituted forPelovaat 64’minutes10Little13WältiSubstituted forCooney-Crossat 86’minutes15McCabeBooked at 45mins12MaanumSubstituted forHurtigat 63’minutes23RussoSubstituted forBlacksteniusat 73’minutes19FoordSubstitutes14D’Angelo16Maritz17Hurtig21Pelova22Kühl25Blackstenius27Codina28Ilestedt32Cooney-CrossLiverpool WomenFormation 3-4-1-2
1Laws17Clark23Bonner4Fisk2Koivisto8Nagano14HöbingerSubstituted forEnderbyat 73’minutesBooked at 87mins12HindsBooked at 79minsSubstituted forParryat 81’minutes18HollandBooked at 83mins7KearnsSubstituted forLundgaardat 81’minutes35TaylorSubstituted forFlintat 67’minutesSubstitutes13Enderby15Lundgaard16Micah26Flint32ParryReferee:Emily Heaslip
Live TextMatch ends, Arsenal Women 0, Liverpool Women 1.
Second Half ends, Arsenal Women 0, Liverpool Women 1.
Victoria Pelova (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Natasha Flint (Liverpool Women).
Attempt blocked. Victoria Pelova (Arsenal Women) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kim Little.
Attempt blocked. Mia Enderby (Liverpool Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sofie Lundgaard.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Emma Koivisto.
Attempt blocked. Caitlin Foord (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Amanda Ilestedt.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Gemma Bonner.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Ceri Holland (Liverpool Women).
Mia Enderby (Liverpool Women) is shown the yellow card.
Lina Hurtig (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sofie Lundgaard (Liverpool Women).
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Kyra Cooney-Cross replaces Lia Wälti.
Foul by Amanda Ilestedt (Arsenal Women).
Mia Enderby (Liverpool Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Caitlin Foord (Arsenal Women) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Victoria Pelova following a set piece situation.
Ceri Holland (Liverpool Women) is shown the yellow card.
Lina Hurtig (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.