Maren Mjelde’s stunning first half strike set Chelsea on their way to 1-0 win over Liverpool
Maren Mjelde’s stunning first half strike set Chelsea on their way to their third win on the spin and the Blues remain top of the Women’s Super League 1 following their 1-0 over Liverpool, at home at Kingsmeadow Stadium this afternoon. The Norway midfielder let fly with a sizzling right-footed strike that lit up an otherwise workmanlike, if uninspiring display by the west Londoners. The Blues clearly had the draining effect of the midweek Champions League match against Bayern Munich to contend with, and it did not help that the visitors were content to keep most of the player deep and hope for a counter-attack or two.
The 21,116 crowd were hoping for a goal fest to follow the previous two 6-0 wins in the opening two matches of the new winter season, but it simply did not materialise.
Two minutes in and Ji So-Yun flashed a fierce volley from a deep cross just past Siobhan Chamberlain’s right post as the Blues went on the offensive from the beginning. It was very difficult skill technically to produce and it almost paid off in spectacular fashion. There were six changes made by manager Emma Hayes from Wednesday night’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich - the second leg, which the Blues lead 1-0 is on Wednesday.
The Blues took a deserved lead on 14 minutes through a blistering right-footed shot by Maren Mjelde, who cut in from the left, and let fly with an unstoppable shot which zipped past the hapless Chamberlain. A brilliant last-gasp challenge by Liverpool Gemma Bonner thwarted Karen Carney from doubling the home side’s lead on 23 minutes. The perfectly-time sliding challenge dispossessed Carney just she was about to smash the ball into the net. There were no changes to either side at half-time. A clipped curler from Carney, two minutes in almost deceived Chamberlain and squeezed Into the far post but the keeper managed to see the ball, albeit late, and tip it round the post for a corner.
Liverpool’s Jess Clarke really should have equalised on 59 minutes when she out-paced Magdalena Ericsson following a long punt. The live wire striker however, took one touch too many and the ball slipped away from her into the grateful palms of Rebecca Spencer. Hayes made her first change on 60 minutes, replacing Erin Cuthbert for Fran Kirby. Mjelde attempted to repeat her goal effort with another on-target shot from 25 yards. This time Chamberlain saw enough of the rasper to parry the ball away for a corner. A late snatches strike by substitute Eni Aluko could have doubled the Blues score, but once again Chamberlain showed her class.
Chelsea Spencer, Bright, Flaherty, Davison, Carmel, So-Yun, Ericsson, Chapman, Mjelde, Dunn, Cuthbert. Subs: Thorisdottir, Blundell, Aluko, Rafferty, Kirby, Spence, Telford,
Liverpool: Chamberlain, Bonner, Ingle, Stones, Greenwood, Murray, Longhurst, Coombs, Charles, Clarke, Harding. Subs: Flaherty, Hudson, Fletcher, Harris, Weir, Johnson
Referee Amy Fearn.