For the second time in succession, Manchester City and Liverpool were forced to settle for a point in an absorbing game at the Academy Stadium.
Liverpool took a surprising lead after just three minutes when the impressive Shanice Van De Sanden latched onto a loose pass from the City defence. The Dutch international burst down the right before playing a low cross inside which eventually found its way through to Rosie White who finished superbly under the advancing Karen Bardsley in the City goal.
The goal visibly disrupted City’s rhythm as they were unable to produce anything meaningful in the final third and might have been punished further on 14 minutes when Alex Greenwood drilled a long range free kick into the hands of Bardsley.
City’s first chance of the game finally came on 32 minutes as they broke quickly from a Liverpool attack with Jane Ross’s low cross just evading both Toni Duggan and Daphne Corboz at the far post.
On 37 minutes Liverpool went close to doubling their lead again when Caroline Weir cannoned a delightful curled effort back off the crossbar from edge of the penalty area.
Liverpool’s high pressing of City was successful in limiting the home side to minimal chances. Only Duggan flashing a cross wide of the post, after Jill Scott had finally managed to evade the resolute Liverpool midfield and pick out her fellow England international with an excellent pass. However it was Liverpool who took a well-deserved lead into half time.
Liverpool started the second half the brighter of the two sides, and on 47 minutes Van De Sanden broke down the right playing in a superb low cross to Tash Harding who was only denied a certain goal thanks to a brilliant tackle from Steph Houghton.
Nikita Parris, who’d replaced Daphne Corboz at half time, gave City fresh impetuous and forced Siobhan Chamberlain into her first save with a shot from the edge of the area on 53 minutes. The move seemed to bring City to life as Duggan let fly with a long range effort into the hands of Chamberlain moments later. City’s pressure increased and their best chance of the game fell again fell to Duggan as she headed a difficult chance over at the far post after a superb run down the right from Lucy Bronze.
City’s second half improvement was rewarded in the 65th minute when Scott drilled a pass to Parris on the right hand side who played a low cross into the six yard box which Jane Ross managed to turn it home under the Liverpool goalkeper.
The home side’s pressure continued and Chamberlain was again called into action to make a good save from substitute Tessell Middag’s far post header. Chamberlain was again called into action and produced a wonderful save when Middag’s curling cross found Scott unmarked but the Liverpool keeper did brilliantly to palm away the England International’s powerful header.
The final 10 minutes saw the game become a real end-to-end affair with chances on both sides. The crowd of 2,172 were treated to a grandstand finish as Niamh Charles almost won it for Liverpool forcing Bardsley into a terrific save one-on-one. The final moment of drama came in stoppage time after a succession Megan Campbell long throws into the penalty area; the last of which fell to Kosovare Asllani but the Swedish international’s effort was parried away by Chamberlain.
The point extended City’s lead at the top of the table to five points whilst Liverpool remain 9th 6 points clear of the drop zone.
Player of the Match: Shanice Van De Sanden (Liverpool)