In Focus: Blues in safe hands with Berger between the sticks
Ann-Katrin Berger looks back to her best at Chelsea.
The goalkeeper, 33, made several impressive saves to keep Everton at bay last weekend as the Blues ran out 3-0 winners at Walton Hall Park.
The victory saw Emma Hayes' side move three points clear at the top of the Women's Super League as they chase a fifth consecutive title.
Ahead of today's clash with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, we take a look at Berger's importance for the West Londoners.
Against the odds
Last Sunday's clean sheet was Berger's second in three league appearances this season.
Now into her fifth full campaign with Chelsea, she has overcome adversity while continuing to perform at the highest level.
Berger revealed last year she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer for a second time, having initially recovered from the illness in 2017.
But she appears to have come back even stronger, looking formidable between the sticks against the Toffees — and Aston Villa a week earlier.
The stopper boasts the second-best save percentage (81.8%) in the WSL, with only Brighton able to find a way past her in last month's 4-2 win for the Blues.
Zecira Musovic, who had been deputising for Berger, boasts the best save percentage in the division (88.2%) — demonstrating the strength of Hayes' squad.
Spoilt for choice
Chelsea are certainly not short of options in goal.
Berger at her best is among the world's top keepers, with numerous titles and individual awards to her name.
But Musovic, who joined from Swedish side FC Rosengard in 2021, has impressed when given a chance.
She only conceded twice in her three WSL appearances this season before Berger's return to the starting XI.
Elsewhere, Belgium No1 Nicky Evrard joined Chelsea in the summer before being loaned to Brighton, while England international Hannah Hampton was also brought in from Aston Villa.
At 22, Hampton is one for the future, with Berger the senior member of the goalkeeping department.
Nonetheless, the German will need to ensure she maintains her current form given the quality of competition.
Whether or not Chelsea are successful again this season, Berger will simply be enjoying her football.
She was one of three finalists for the Best Women's Goalkeeper award at the FIFA Best Awards 2022, beaten in the end by Manchester United's Mary Earps.
Berger said: "If I'm honest, I never thought I would be in the best three again after the illness I had.
"I had to come back again and prove myself, so I was really surprised. It's a nice feeling and I can't deny it but I'm already a winner in my head.
"To be in the best three is phenomenal. I'm a little bit proud of myself as well."
Chelsea fans will also feel proud of a player who continues to shine despite enduring an unimaginably difficult period away from the pitch.
Always dependable in big matches, Berger could well play a key role again against Liverpool.