18 September 2022

Katie Stengel at the double as Liverpool stun Chelsea on WSL return

18 September 2022

Katie Stengel converted two penalties on her Women’s Super League debut to lift newly-promoted Liverpool to a 2-1 victory over defending champions Chelsea.

The Blues got on the scoresheet early when Fran Kirby converted from the spot after Gilly Flaherty collided with Guro Reiten.

Sam Kerr saw an effort ruled offside while Liverpool capitalised on their second-half chances.

The Reds’ win ended the Blues’ 13-game unbeaten streak, while Liverpool celebrated their return to the top-flight in front of a record 3,006 fans at Prenton Park.

Former Blues defender Flaherty got her new side off to an unfortunate start, mistiming her clearance and instead making contact with Reiten to concede a penalty inside the first minute.

Kirby stepped up to the spot and sent Rachael Laws the wrong way to convert inside three minutes, her 29th goal in her last 31 starts for the Blues.

Emma Koivisto had a chance to level soon after when Chelsea keeper Zecira Musovic failed to hold onto a Ceri Holland effort and the Finnish defender pounced on the rebound but sent her effort over the bar.

The defending champions dominated throughout the opening exchanges with Lauren James, who earned her first England cap earlier this month, looking especially bright down the right wing.

They looked to double their advantage at the 20-minute mark when Kirby sent a long ball over the top to Kerr, who easily fired past Laws from 18 yards but her volleyed effort was immediately ruled offside.

Matt Beard’s side were dealt a blow when Leanne Kiernan was forced off, supported by two staff, after she was brought down by Chelsea debutant Kadeisha Buchanan.

But Liverpool got the breakthrough they were looking for when Flaherty’s flick-on from a throw-in caught Millie Bright’s arm and was called for handball and Stengel coolly converted for her first WSL goal.

Five minutes before time, Stengel broke down the right and into the area, pursued by Buchanan who brought her down with a sliding tackle to set up Stengel for her game-winning brace.

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