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WSL Preview: Arsenal Women v Liverpool

Arsenal Women v Liverpool. Emirates Stadium. October 1, 2023

After four long months away, the FA Women's Super League is finally back as we host Liverpool at Emirates Stadium.

Over 53,000 tickets have already been sold for the tie so don't miss out - get your tickets now.

A new beginning

Arsenal Women celebrate scoring

From summer signings to an exhilarating FIFA Women’s World Cup, a lot has happened since our Gunners secured a third-place finish in last season’s WSL.

There was early heartbreak as we exited the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying round on penalties against Paris FC, after reaching the competition’s semi-finals last campaign. 

Yet with renewed focus on domestic competitions and five new arrivals in north London this summer, Eidevall's squad is looking in excellent shape ahead of the new season.

England starlet Alessia Russo was the first to sign on the dotted line, quickly followed by dynamic winger Cloe Lacasse and recent Ballon d’Or nominee Amanda Ilestedt.  

We then recruited a World Cup winner in the form of centre-back Laia Codina and concluded the transfer window with Kyra Cooney-Cross. The 21-year-old midfield maestro will now link up with her Australian teammates Steph Catley and Caitlin Foord after an eye-catching display at their home World Cup.

Alongside new faces, a number of our key players recommitted their futures to the club this summer including captain Kim Little, Lia Walti, Frida Maanum and Katie McCabe.

This season will also see the return of several key names from injury, including Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema who have both returned to full training in the wake of respective ACL ruptures. 

A convincing win over Chelsea at Selhurst Park saw our squad lift the Conti Cup trophy back in March - the first piece of silverware for Eidevall since he took over. Our head coach and players will be hungry for much more heading into this campaign, as we strive to end Chelsea’s four-year reign at WSL champions. 

Liverpool's rebuild

Liverpool Women celebrate scoring in pre-season

Two-time WSL champions Liverpool have not had the smoothest ride since helping to found the league 12 years ago, suffering relegation in the 2019/20 season. 

Matt Beard's Reds finished a respectable seventh in their first season back in the Women's Super League, following a two-year spell in the Championship. 

Beard was in the dugout the last time they lifted the WSL trophy in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014, and he’ll be looking to recapture some of that early glory going forward. 

Last season, we beat the Reds comfortably on both occasions - hitting two with no reply in the home and away fixtures. 

With last season's top-scorer Katie Stengel returning stateside, Liverpool have reinforced their frontline with 24-year-old Norwegian, Sophie Roman Haug. Although Norway struggled at this summer’s World Cup, the striker bagged a hat-trick against the Philippines and has an impressive tally of eight international goals in 11 appearances to her name. 

Young midfielder Missy Bo Kearns is also one to watch for Liverpool - a local girl who has risen through the ranks of the club’s academy to earn their Player of the Season award and captain England’s under-23 side just a few weeks ago. 

Whilst the Reds have enjoyed a robust pre-season, they have struggled with results, recording just one win against Leicester City. Manchester City, Manchester United, PSG, Atletico Madrid and Birmingham City have all come out on top in their meetings with Liverpool. 

What the managers say

Jonas Eidevall smiles in his pre-match press conference

Eidevall on Liverpool: "I expect this to be the most competitive WSL season that there has ever been. A lot of squads have been strengthening. 

"I think Liverpool is a very competitive side and they've played a very competitive schedule in preseason against a lot of top teams. Their performances have been good in these games, so we're playing as a tough opposition." - hear more from the boss

Beard on us: "Arsenal away at the Emirates is certainly a tough way to start our season but it's one we're embracing and really looking forward to.

"They had everyone away at the World Cup apart from two players, so for them to have to play so soon after that is tough. We have had the benefit of a full pre-season, which Arsenal haven't had so we need to take full advantage of that."

Team news

Leah Williamson running on grass for the first time since sustaining a knee injury

After an injury forced her to withdraw from England camp this month, Lotte Wubben-Moy has returned to full training.

Meanwhile, Noelle Maritz picked up a knock on international duty for Switzerland and though Eidevall did not rule her out for our season opener, he did confirm her injury was being assessed. 

As for whether we’ll see the return of Beth Mead on Sunday, Eidevall has admitted there’s a possibility.

"We still have another training session to do but she's getting very, very close,” he said in Friday’s press conference.

Leah Williamson took a big step in her recovery this week by hitting the grass for the very first time since sustaining a knee injury in April.

Vivianne Miedema, Laura Wienroither and Teyah Goldie also remain out of action as they continue their ACL rehabilitation. 

Facts and stats

Caitlin Foord strikes the ball against Paris FC

  • We have beaten Liverpool 16 times in the Women’s Super League. Only Everton have a worse record against us having lost 17 matches, which is also a league record

  • The last time Liverpool recorded a win against us in the league was back in 2016 at Meadow Park. Fara Williams kicked off the scoring for the Gunners, but Shanice van der Sanden and Caroline Weir were on target for the Reds in their 2-1 win

  • Liverpool have lost eight consecutive WSL matches against us, conceding 24 times and scoring just three times

  • We have only lost an opening game in the WSL once, although this was against Liverpool in 2013

  • England under-23 captain Missy Bo Kearns scored four WSL goals last season for the Reds - three of which were match-winners

  • Liverpool failed to win a single away match in the league last season and drew more away matches than any other team. Reading were the only other side in the league without an away win and they were eventually relegated

  • However, the Reds have won six of their last nine season openers in the WSL. Their last opening game away from home came in 2018-19 when they lost 5-0 to our Gunners

  • Caitlin Foord was involved in 12 WSL goals last season, scoring six and assisting six. Two of those goal involvements came against the Reds - scoring at home and assisting away

  • Frida Maanum had the most successful take-on rate for all central midfielders across the league with 33. She also attempted the most in the opposition's penalty area with 9

How to watch

Breakdown Live: Log on from 1:30pm UK time

There’s still a chance to join over 50,000 supporters at Emirates Stadium this afternoon and tickets are available to buy here. 

For those at home or outside the UK, we’ll have full match coverage on and the app, featuring commentary from Max Jones and former Gunner Anita Asante. 

You can tune in to our Breakdown Live show with Emma Byrne and Shebahn Aherne from 1.30pm UK time, who will be pitchside with some special guests. 

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