Arsenal 0-1 Liverpool: Taylor effort stuns record crowd
Miri Taylor’s second-half goal earned Liverpool a shock 1-0 win at Arsenal in front of a new record crowd for a Women’s Super League fixture.
The Emirates Stadium hosted 54,115 fans as the total topped the previous best, an Arsenal home game against Tottenham in a north London derby clash last season.
The result was a double disaster for Jonas Eidevall’s Gunners, who crashed out of the Champions League at the qualification stage last month when they were beaten on penalties by Paris FC.
Liverpool – who beat defending champions Chelsea 2-1 on the opening day last season – had to soak up plenty of pressure but struck early in the second half with a move worthy to win any game.
Gunners summer signings Alessia Russo and Cloe Lacasse started with fellow new recruits Laia Codina, Amanda Ilestedt and Kyra Cooney-Cross on the bench.
Matt Beard, who led Liverpool to title glory in 2013 and 2014 in his first spell as manager, handed debuts to new recruits Marie Hobinger, Grace Fisk and Jenna Clark.
Sophie Roman Haug – brought to fill the goal gap left by Katie Stengel’s departure – and captain Niamh Farley were missing as part of a number of injury absentees, with just five players named on the Liverpool bench.
Lacasse’s skills on the right set up an early chance for Arsenal, who are aiming for a first WSL title since 2019, but Caitlin Foord’s shot was deflected wide.
The purple-clad visitors were finding possession difficult to retain but Ceri Holland’s volley – from Hobinger’s pass – forced home goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger into her first save.
Rachael Laws was called into action at the other end soon after and reacted to stop Lotte Wubben-Moy’s header from a corner. Laws then had to tip over Foord’s cross before requiring treatment on a hand injury.
Zinsberger’s fumbling of a high ball caused alarm in the Arsenal box but Taylor Hinds’ shot was blocked by Jennifer Beattie.
Liverpool were buoyed by that, with Missy Bo Kearns curling a free-kick over the wall and just wide.
Frida Maanum resumed normal service with a snapshot in the box that Laws tipped over and the Liverpool goalkeeper dived to deny Kim Little shortly before the break.
Liverpool took the lead after 48 minutes when Hobinger burst forward on the right and found Kearns for a pull-back that Taylor calmly slotted past Zinsberger.
Russo had been kept quiet but saw an effort blocked in a crowded box before Lacasse headed wide at the back post. Beattie and substitute Lina Hurtig also had shots blocked as Arsenal fired in corner after corner, with one coming off a post.
Gemma Bonner threw herself in the way of a shot from another Gunners substitute Victoria Pelova before Russo was replaced with 17 minutes remaining.
Foord flicked a header against the crossbar but Liverpool negotiated 10 minutes of added time to celebrate victory.