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Reds prepare to host title-challenging Arsenal Women in WSL

Vicky Jepson and her side are back at Prenton Park for another Women’s Super League fixture. On Sunday, Liverpool will host title challengers Arsenal Women and their in-form squad. 

The Reds started 2019 in fine form, winning four games on the bounce – their highest win streak this season. However, a recent dip in form has the girls on their second consecutive loss.

A disappointing home defeat to Chelsea in the WSL broke Liverpool’s positive run. Just four days later, the Reds were knocked out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup by Manchester City.

Reaching the quarters finals of the FA Cup was a great achievement for Liverpool. Sadly a very in-form Man City side made easy work of ensuring their journey stopped there.

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Liverpool are in a pretty safe position in the table – three points ahead of Brighton & Hove Albion with two games in hand. The Reds – in 8th place – could jump up a spot in the ranks, but have no real chances of progressing much further.

Jepson’s side will be looking to restore winning ways and boost morale ahead of what promises to be an exciting 2019/20 season. Although it’s now impossible for Liverpool to challenge for a Champions League spot, they do still risk a plummet to the bottom of the table.

If Yeovil Town win all their upcoming games and the Reds don’t register any points, they will replace the Somerset side in the relegation spot.

Team talk

A risk of relegation though is extremely unlikely. Star player Courtney Sweetman-Kirk will be keen to get back into her scoring boots and make an impact.

The 2018 summer signing has scored seven goals in the WSL – more than West Ham’s Alisha Lehmann and Arsenal’s Beth Mead, and on par with Chelsea’s Fran Kirby.

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Another player who will look to cause Arsenal some trouble is Rinsola Babajide. The up-and-coming 20-year-old has looked more and more comfortable within her role as the season has progressed.

With Jess Clarke and Niamh Charles sidelined for a large chunk of the campaign, Babajide has stepped up. Her presence on the wing is impossible to ignore and could really be a thorn in Arsenal’s side if she starts.

Jemma Purfield is another who has slotted into the team with ease. Joining just two months ago, the versatile 21-year-old has already made waves. An attacking player by trade, Purfield has caused headaches for teams going forward, despite being played in a left-back role at Liverpool.

Form and results

Liverpool’s last five games: WWWLL

Arsenal’s last five games: WLWDW

The reverse fixture was the opening game of the 2018/19 season. Arsenal Women hosted Liverpool at Meadow Park and beat them to a 5-0 pulp.

Joe Montemurro’s side have lost just three games across all competitions this season. Their best form is a massive 11 consecutive wins – the biggest of these being a 9-0 victory over Lewes Ladies. The Gunners have won 13 WSL games, drawn none and lost just two.

Top league scorer Vivianne Miedema will be Liverpool’s biggest threat. The Dutch international now has 19 goals and seven assists in the WSL alone – with a 74% shot accuracy rating.

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Arsenal are two points behind league leaders Man City, with two games in hand. A win at Prenton Park will see them leapfrog back into the top spot they’ve been warming for the majority of the season.

Jepson and the Reds have won just five of their league games, drawn one and lost nine. Liverpool will need to dig deep on Sunday to grab a result against Arsenal. Other teams have proved that the Gunners aren’t invincible and the hosts may be able to pull it off if they stay focused.

The fixture kicks off at 12.30pm at Prenton Park. Tickets can be purchased here, but any fans who attended the LFC Legends vs Milan Glorie match are eligible to attend for free.

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