Merseyside Derby: Everton v Liverpool
Women's Football Weekend kicks off with a massive Merseyside Derby
24 March 2023
An evening at Goodison Park will kick off this year’s Women’s Football Weekend with a massive Merseyside derby.
Over 20,000 tickets have been sold to catch the 15th meeting between Everton and Liverpool in the WSL. Currently, the Toffees are narrowly ahead with six victories to Liverpool’s five, all other ties have ended evenly.
Everton have progressed steadily this season, rising to the middle of the table whilst rebuilding a sense of identity after a somewhat disastrous run of form last term. The Toffees are currently winless in their last three games after they failed to find the back of the net against relegation zoned Leicester City last week. Despite this dry spell Brian Sorensen’s side are certainly capable of matching, and indeed beating, their Merseyside rivals as they won by three goals to nil in the reverse fixture.
Youngsters Jess Park and Aggie Beaver-Jones have proven to be rather elusive for oppositions this season with their pace and trickery making them difficult to keep hold of. Alongside central playmaker Hanna Bennison, the Toffees have real creative potential forming in the middle and attacking thirds.
Further back, goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan also has a fair few standout moments under her belt, notably an almost one-woman effort to deny title contenders Manchester United a goal just a few weeks ago. Expect another big performance from the Ireland international tonight.
Liverpool have performed fairly well and kept themselves afloat in their first season back in the top division. Whilst it hasn’t been a perfect run, the Reds have performed with character and class and shown that they deserve to be competing with the best.
Boss Matt Beard has used a number of different formations this season, usually opting for a defensively structured 5-4-1 against pressing sides and more ‘evenly’ spread 4-3-3’s when taking on more resistant teams. Looking at these patterns, it would be fair to predict that Beard will likely use a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 variation this evening.
The Reds do not have the most impressive record away from home and have only won one in their last 16 games on the road. However, they are dogged in coming back from behind, having claimed eight points from losing positions this season, and should not be written off until the final whistle has blown.
Ones to watch
Whilst the home side excite with their zesty wingers, a player that should not be overlooked is Gabby George. The defender has transformed under the management of Sorensen who, by pushing George out to a wide position, has utilised her supportive attacking attributes whilst still benefitting from her defensive prowess.
George operates along the left hand-side fulfilling both the left-back and wingback roles when the Toffees opt for a 3-4-3. With tact, George plays the supportive role well becoming an extra body in attacking phases whilst also tracking back and providing her trademark blocks when defending. Undoubtably, George is one of Everton’s most imperative figures.
On the other side, Liverpool’s Katie Stengel is a rather superb centre-forward. The American striker has netted six goals in 13 WSL appearances so far, yet her presence on the field brings much more than just goals. Stengel is a typically relentless central striker, chasing down loose balls, off-the-shoulder runs, instinctively ready to get on the end of crosses and deliveries.
Stengel, however, is also an exceptional example of an attacking player “defending from the front”. With aggression, Stengel puts pressure on single opponents and the movement of the ball in attempt to cut out passages of play from oppositions before they start. All in all, the lively Red could prove to be a real nuisance to Everton’s centre-halves.
How to watch
The match will be shown live on Sky Sports for viewers in the UK with coverage beginning at 19:00 (GMT).
The FA Player will also stream the game for those watching outside of the UK, however please also check local listings.