Taking place at the inaugural home of Everton Football Club, Anfield, on Sunday, 25 September at 6.45pm, Brian Sorensen’s team will be up against a side full of confidence following an impressive victory over FA WSL defending champions, Chelsea.
The Blues handed debuts to a number of their summer acquisitions against the Hammers; Katrina Veje and Aggie Beaver-Jones really catching the eye, while Katja Snoejs will be keen to develop her understanding with the on-loan Chelsea forward. The two combining well on Sunday was encouraging and nearly resulted in a debut goal for the Netherlands international.
With strength in depth and players hungry to make an impression, it remains to be seen if Sorensen rings the changes. Though well organised and comfortable in possession, Liverpool will pose a greater threat to the Toffees, which may see Izzy Christiansen getting her first start of the season on Sunday. The midfielder’s experience of Merseyside derbies will be of real value to those tasting the fixture for the very first time.
Another derby veteran, Lucy Graham, will also be key. Speaking after the defeat to West Ham, the Scotland international highlighted the importance of bouncing back and the older heads looking after the younger talent.
“You have to try and not take these games too much to heart. But it also means that the more experienced players get around them and, going into a big game in the derby, encourage them to show their personalities on the pitch.”
Having gained promotion from the second tier last season, Matt Beard’s team will be keen to let everyone know that the top tier is where they belong. That message was delivered in the best possible way, as two Katie Stengel penalties secured a 2-1 victory over defending champions and title favourites, Chelsea.
It wasn’t all celebration for the Reds, striker Leanne Kiernan was forced off in the second half due to an ankle injury, but Beard will still have Stengel keen to extend her goal tally and will be confident of getting a result against their city rivals.
Anfield has been a happy hunting ground for Everton, in November 2019 Graham proved to be the hero for the Blues. The midfielder’s long-range effort was enough to settle matters in front of a 23,500-strong crowd in what was the first WSL match to be played at the venue.