Liverpool snatch late win to leave Chelsea’s title hopes hanging by a thread

Chelsea were soon on the front foot and grabbed the lead when Catarina Macario saw a shot deflect into the side-netting

Chelsea suffered a huge blow in their pursuit of the Women’s Super League title as a dramatic 4-3 loss at Liverpool left leaders Manchester City firmly in the driving seat.

Emma Hayes’ side led through a ninth-minute header from Aggie Beever-Jones – in the team for the injured Lauren James – before Liverpool turned things around via efforts from Sophie Roman Haug in the 51st minute and Gemma Bonner midway through the second half.

A chaotic finale then saw Beever-Jones net her second with 10 minutes of normal time to go, substitute Leanne Kiernan restore the hosts’ advantage a minute later, a Teagan Micah own-goal bring things level once again two minutes on from that, and Bonner then head the winner in stoppage-time.

Just over a month ago there was talk of the possibility of Chelsea claiming a quadruple in what is their final season under Hayes before she departs to take charge of the United States.

Since then they have lost in the League Cup final to Arsenal, the FA Cup semi-finals to Manchester United and, on Saturday, the Champions League last four to Barcelona – and this result leaves it looking likely they will have a trophyless campaign for the first time since 2018-19.

With three matches left to play, the west London outfit – WSL champions for each of the last four years – are six points behind City, who have two games remaining.

Matt Beard’s fifth-placed Liverpool go level on points with fourth-placed United.

Chelsea’s starting line-up showed three changes from the Barcelona game, with fit-again skipper Millie Bright coming in at the back for her first start since November, while Beever-Jones replaced James in attack with the top-scorer missing due to a foot issue.

Following an early shot wide from Bonner, Chelsea were soon on the front foot and grabbed the lead when Catarina Macario saw a shot deflect into the side-netting and delivered the resulting corner to Beever-Jones, who nodded past Micah.

It was almost 2-0 within moments as Micah parried Sjoeke Nusken’s firm shot, Taylor Hinds clearing the loose ball, and the goalkeeper subsequently dealt with another deflected Macario effort.

Niamh Charles missed with a header, then teed up a Macario finish that was ruled out for offside, before Liverpool exerted some pressure late in the half with Ceri Holland and Emma Koivisto bringing saves out of Hannah Hampton either side of Haug skewing off-target, and a Hinds effort going wide off Ashley Lawrence.

And after that strong finish to the first half, the Reds brought things level shortly into the second as Haug rose to head home Marie Hobinger’s corner.

Hayes responded by making a double substitution, bringing on Sophie Ingle and Maika Hamano on for Fran Kirby and Nusken, but it was Liverpool who then pressed again as Mia Enderby’s strike was well saved by Hampton.

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