Continental Cup Liverpool’s chance to return to form

Following two successive 1-0 losses to begin the season, Vicky Jespon’s side will face Sheffield United in the Continental Cup this Sunday.

Liverpool opened their Women’s Super League season with losses against Reading at Prenton Park and Spurs at The Hive.

Neither game was without positives but the losses leave Liverpool in a precarious position at the start of the season.

The Reds are one of three teams in the WSL still to earn a point. The others being Birmingham and Manchester United.

Chance to Get Back on Track

As it is with any cup competition, there is the chance that sides from lower divisions will come up against the best the country has to offer. That is the case with Sheffield United this Sunday.

The Blades are currently sixth in the Championship, winning two of their three games so far this season.

Taking on a team from a lower division won’t be as easy as it sounds. There is a certain level of personal pride that a team can take away from beating a side with the cultural prowess of Liverpool.

You can expect Sheffield United to be well up for a tough game this Sunday at Prenton Park.

That being said, Liverpool should be fully expected to win and get their Continental Tyres Cup campaign off to a good start. As a Liverpool fan, it would be difficult to accept anything else after such a disappointing start to the season.

Team News

Liverpool will be without Niamh Fahey at centre-half. The Irish defender will serve a one-match suspension following her sending off against Spurs.

This leaves a tough conundrum for Vicky Jepson to crack but she is not short of options. Jemma Purfield is the obvious candidate to come into the side.

Rhiannon Roberts could play at full-back, allowing either Leighanne Robe or Becky Jane to fill in the centre-half spot. Roberts played well at right-back for Wales during the recent international break.

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There could also be a change in system that takes the pressure off the central defenders. Considering all of the factors, this is probably the best game for Fahey to serve a suspension.

We could also see typical cup-competition style rotation within the squad. Rinsola Babajide could make her first start of the season, Fran Kitching could come into the side, even with Anke Preuß having a very good start to the season.

Predicted Line-up: Fran Kitching; Leighanne Robe, Sophie Bradley-Auckland, Jemma Purfield, Becky Jane; Christie Murray, Jade Bailey, Amy Rodgers, Niamh Charles; Rinsola Babajide, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk.

Continental Cup

As women’s football comes more and more into the public eye, many will be wanting to inform themselves on what the cup competitions consist of.

The WSL Cup or the Continental Tyres Cup League, consists of 22 teams from the top two divisions of women’s football. Those 22 teams are split into two groups of 11 – North and South.

North and South are then divided into two groups. One of five teams and one of six. Liverpool are in Group One North. The other five sides in their group are: Sunday’s opponents, Sheffield United, Durham, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Coventry.

Each team plays each other just once. Then the top two sides go through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

In eight iterations of the competition, only two different sides have won it. Those two being Manchester City – the reigning champions, and Arsenal. The Gunners have won the cup a record five times.

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The competition continues to grow every season as women’s football itself blossoms.

The original competition in 2011 consisted of the eight WSL teams at the time. In just eight years the competition has expanded to 22 teams.

Liverpool kick-off against Sheffield United at 12:00 this Sunday at Prenton Park in Tranmere. Support means the world to the players on the pitch and you can make the difference.