Bunny Shaw scored a hat-trick as City clocked up a fifth successive WSL victory with a 5-1 comeback win over Liverpool.

Gareth Taylor’s high-flying side went behind when Reds captain Taylor Hinds capitalised on hesitancy in the backline of the hosts to lob Khiara Keating and open the scoring.

But City came charging back and went in 3-1 at the break.

Gemma Bonner turned into her own net after a wicked cross into the box by substitute Esme Morgan before Shaw pounced on a poor pass out by Teagan Micah to bury our second.

Our powerful Jamaican striker headed home a third in injury time and claimed her hat-trick after the break with a cheeky backheel finish in the box.

Chloe Kelly smashed home a spot-kick to make it 5-1 and complete the scoring, the penalty awarded after a clumsy challenge on the onrushing Lauren Hemp by opposition keeper Micah.

WHAT HAPPENED

Liverpool manager Matt Beard paid us the ultimate compliment in his pre-match press conference when he said: “I think Man City have been the best team in the WSL so far this season”.

But, while appreciating the praise, Gareth Taylor will have understood fully the strength of our opponent, who were on a run of three straight wins in all competitions, including an away WSL victory over Manchester United.

What transpired between the two impressive teams was an exciting contest.

Liverpool looked to play out from the back while City pressed high and that approach caused problems for the Reds in the first half.

The warning signs were there on 12 minutes as Shaw won it high up, passed to Laura Coombs who had her fierce shot blocked by Fuka Nagano while the ball ricocheted to Chloe Kelly who, in turn, had her goalbound effort well saved by Teagan Micah.

That was all part of an assured, positive and optimistic start by the hosts – but our visitors opened the scoring against the run of play.

City had several chances to clear the ball on 15 minutes but captain Taylor Hinds capitalised on the hesitancy to lob Khiara Keating and put Liverpool ahead.

It proved to a be a temporary setback as City came charging back, levelling matters from a Gemma Bonner own-goal on 19 minutes, the 32-year-old former blue finding her own net from a classy cross from the right by Esme Morgan, who’d come on early doors for the injured Kerstin Casparij.

The lively Shaw gave us the lead on 32 minutes, showing great anticipation to pounce on a poor pass out by keeper Micah to Nagano, dispossessing the 24-year-old Japanese star and making no mistake with a clinical finish from close-range.

She nearly bagged her second and our third in the next move but she couldn’t keep her effort down after a fine Kelly ball in from the right.

Laura Coombs produced a grass-cutting shot on 36 minutes after a wonderful cutback from Lauren Hemp down the left but her effort was well parried by Micah in the Reds goal.

City looked for a third in injury time – and Shaw, in particular, eyed another goal.

She hit the crossbar from a wonderful ball in from Kelly and, just before the referee’s whistle, our Jamaican ace made no mistake, heading home another brilliant centre from the England international in the seventh - and final - minute of stoppages.

It was more of the same from Taylor’s team after the break.

The effervescent Kelly was so close to scoring on 51 minutes firing a fierce shot just over.

Shaw made no mistake when her next opportunity came, producing a clever, cheeky backheel in the box to make it 4-1 and bring up her hat-trick on 56 minutes.

The Reds certainly didn’t give up the ghost and Keating had to be at her best to keep out a fine strike from Roman Haug on 66 minutes.

The referee had a decision to make on 75 minutes as Micah rushed out to intercept the onrushing Hemp. She opted for a yellow but it could so easily have been a red as the England winger endured a really nasty landing following the clumsy challenge. 

Hemp, thankfully, recovered after treatment but there was a silver lining as the official awarded a penalty for the foul - and Kelly made no mistake with the spot-kick to extend our impressive lead on 78 minutes.

City continued to dominate the action with the final whistle approaching, seeing out seven minutes of added time to pick up a well-deserved three points.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH

It had to be Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw after a fine hat-trick against impressive opposition in Liverpool - her third treble in four WSL games!

Her first was a clinical finish, her second was a pinpoint header while her third was the best of the lot - a clever, cheeky backheel as she bagged her treble. And all in the space of an hour before she was substituted. 

Saying all that, City had a host of impressive performers in an all-round dominant display.

HOW WE LINED UP

We were unchanged for this Liverpool clash from the team that faced Durham.

Khiara Keating was between the sticks for City and protected by a back four of Kerstin Casparij, Laia Aleixandri, captain Alex Greenwood and Leila Ouahabi.

Yui Hasegawa anchored the midfield behind Jill Roord and Laura Coombs.

Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp, alongside Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw’, occupied the forward areas.

Alanna Kennedy, who Gareth Taylor said was ‘really close’ to a return following injury, missed out for the Reds clash while Ellie Roebuck was back on the bench.

Liverpool made three changes to the side who beat Bristol City.

Sophie Roman Haug, Natasha Flint, Missy Bo Kearns came in for Melissa Lawley, Mia Enderby and Ceri Holland.

CITY XI: Keating, Casparij (Morgan 10’), Aleixandri, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Roord (Mace 79’), Coombs (Angeldahl 60’), Kelly, Shaw (Fowler 60’), Hemp (Park 78’)

Subs: Roebuck, MacIver, Stokes, Houghton

LIVERPOOL XI: Micah, Fisk (Fahey 79’), Bonner, Clark (Matthews 46’), Hinds, Nagano, Hobinger, Koivisto, Kearns (Lundgaard 73’), Flint (Van de Sanden 46’), Roman Haug (Lawley 79’)

Subs: Laws, Parry, Daniels, Enderby

WHAT IT MEANS

Today’s impressive victory ensured we kept pace with Chelsea at the top of the WSL.

Emma Hayes’s team beat Man Utd 3-1 in the 12:30 kick-off at Stamford Bridge, keeping them at the summit with 28 points from 11 games.

We’re just three points behind, having played the same amount of matches. We’re ahead of third place Arsenal on goal difference.

FA WSL
1 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 18 15 1 2 49 12 37 46 WWWWW
2 Chelsea FC Chelsea Chelsea 17 14 1 2 50 14 36 43 WLWWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 18 13 1 4 42 18 24 40 LWWLW
Last updated: 14 April 2024

WHAT’S NEXT

It an exciting Manchester derby on the horizon in the Continental Cup – and you can watch it on CITY+.

The Group B game, at the Joie Stadium, takes place on Wednesday 24 January.

It’s a 19:00 (UK) kick-off as second host first.

We will be wearing a special edition kit for the occasion, too, that celebrates the Chinese Year of the Wood Dragon.

The eye-catching jersey has sold out online in men and women fits but kids, jackets and lifestyle apparel are still available to purchase online. A limited number of men and women jerseys are in stock at the Etihad Stadium and Arndale Centre City Stores. 

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