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Everton Women 1-0 Liverpool: WSL Report and Reaction | Toffees pick up first win of the season

Merseyside Derby delight for Sorensen as Blues skipper strikes to sink Reds

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Brian Sorensen called Everton Women’s derby triumph the ‘complete team performance’ as Megan Finnigan’s header handed the Blues their first WSL points of the season.

The Blues skipper’s second goal of the season was enough to ensure all three points and preserves the Toffees record of having never lost at Anfield in the WSL, nor conceded a goal.

It was not all smiles for Everton though, with Lucy Hope replaced early with a suspected ankle injury. That was just part of a difficult start at the home of their neighbours, as a fast-starting Liverpool had a Missy Bo Kearns effort ruled out for offside.

But the visitors weathered the early storm an began to exert their control and the Blues boss was delighted with what he saw.

“It was hectic at times but we had a good feeling in the game. We were looking good and sharp. We had good control, so I’m really happy and proud of the girls,” he said.”

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

“Yaya (Aurora Galli) was phenomenal today. Justine (Vanhaevermaet) was really, really good. [Hanna Bennison] was excellent. I could mention everybody. It was a team effort and I’m really super proud.

“With the injuries we have, and it always sits in you a little when you lose the first two games, but this league is ruthless and if we don’t score our chances, you will lose. That’s how it is in this league, but today was enough with one [goal] and we’re happy about that.

“It was a complete team performance. I’m not in doubt about the players; I know what they’re capable of. I know when you step into this iconic place, that they will do the job. They will be calm and I really felt we were in control for large parts of the game.”

Sorensen made three changes from the side that narrowly lost to Manchester City. Courtney Brosnan kept her place in goal behind a back three of Katrine Veje, Nathalie Bjorn and Finnigan, while Nicoline Sorensen and Emma Bissell were chosen to lead the attack.

The 23,088 in attendance saw a fast start and difficult start to proceedings for the Blues, with Hope withdrawn after only a minute to be replaced by Clare Wheeler. The Australian was to prove more than a worthy substitute with an assured performance in an unfamiliar wing-back role.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Seconds after the restart and Liverpool thought they had the lead through Kearns but her effort was ruled out for offside. The hosts now smelt blood and Ceri Holland saw her thunderous drive crash off Courtney Brosnan’s crossbar moments later.

But what followed was a quieter period of the game as Everton began to get to grips with matters and frustrate Matt Beard’s team.

Far from just making up the numbers, the Blues fashioned chances of their own, with Sorensen doing well to find Bissell in the box, who couldn’t quite direct her shot goalward.

Revelling in her forward role, Sorensen then had an effort which forced Liverpool keeper Rachael Laws into making a save. The Dane brought down a long ball on the right before twisting and turning to unleash her effort to force a corner that was to prove very fruitful for the visitors.

Taken by Veje, the ball found the head of Finnigan, who beat her marker to power Everton into the lead and send the ‘travelling’ faithful into raptures.

Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Now in control of the game, the Toffees limited their hosts to few chances as they headed into the break with the lead.

And Everton remained into control for large periods of the second half, with the midfield trio of Galli, Vanhaevermaet and Bennison all putting in impressive shifts to both frustrate and nullify the Liverpool offence, all in front of a well-organised back three.

As the game drew to a close, proceedings opened up. A returning Katja Snoeijs - introduced for Bissell midway through the second period - showed her team what they’d been missing. The Dutch striker looked sharp and forced Laws into a good save before her well-stuck effort cannoned off the woodwork moments later with the stopper beaten.

Liverpool cranked up the pressure in the dying moments of the contest, but it was to no avail as the Blues stayed strong to secure their first victory of the season while preserving that 100% winning record at Anfield.

Everton return to action at Walton Hall Park next Sunday when they welcome Manchester United. Kick off 1pm (BST).