For the second consecutive game, Blues turned in improved second-half performances after giving themselves a hefty half-time deficits.
A hat-trick from Nicole Rolser was added to by a Louise Fors free-kick to give the visitors a 4-0 advantage. After the interval, Coral Haines and Isobel Christiansen both scored, but Blues could not complete a grandstand comeback.
*To check out a selection of action shots from the match courtesy of Ville Vuorinen head over to Blues Ladies' official Facebook page here."
Just 24 hours after playing over 70 minutes in the U19 European Championship final, England star Melissa Lawley was restored to the Blues’ line-up, with Cristina Torkildsen also making a rare appearance at the heart of the defence.
Blues started the clash by looking to exploit a very high defensive line from the visitors, but were caught offside multiple times early on. With both sides leaving space in behind their defences, much of the early action occurred in the middle of the pitch, with neither side having time to set the tempo of the clash.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Blues had a strong penalty appeal turned down. A Potter free-kick in to the box was nodded down by Emily Westwood and when Jade Moore fired a volley towards goal, it was blocked by a red shirt. Moore’s vociferous appeal indicated what she thought, but referee Amy Fearn was unconvinced.
The hosts then began to get their foot on the ball a bit more and were looking to the wizardry of Lawley, Christiansen and Carney on the wings, with the full-backs overlapping, but could not find that crucial cross.
Despite this, Liverpool were looking dangerous on the counter-attack and took the lead after 25 minutes. Fors’ deep cross just evaded the head of Natasha Dowie, but Rolser was stealing in at the back post to rifle an effort across Spencer and into the far corner.
After a crucial interception from Gemma Bonner stopped Kirsty Linnett from tapping home, Liverpool doubled their advantage on 31 minutes. Lucy Bronze’s mazy run ended when she was bundled over and from 25 yards out, Fors curled the resultant free-kick with her left-foot into the top corner and past the despairing dive of Spencer, who stood no chance.
A flurry of blocks from a trio of Blues corners soon followed as Liverpool Ladies managed to find themselves in the way of every Blues effort and, once that spell of pressure subsided, Liverpool punished the hosts again.
Another counter-attack saw Rolser released down the left hand side and she used her electric pace to get clear of Westwood and Chelsea Weston to fire past Spencer. The retreating Westwood attempted to clear the effort, but could only help it over the line with five minutes of the half remaining.
The hosts went in three goals down for the second game running, but this time, they were punished again soon after the restart.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Rolser completed her hat-trick when latching on to Fors’ through ball to round Spencer and tap into an empty net.
That spurred Blues to throw on Haines in place of the exhausted Lawley and two minutes later she reduced the deficit. After losing possession down the right flank, Linnett stole the ball from the defender to roll back to the substitute who calmly slotted past Laws.
From then on it was all Blues. A continuous flow of corners resulted in blocked efforts as the visitors threw everything in front of goal to protect their lead. Potter and Christiansen both had efforts saved before Blues scored a second.
Once again, Linnett harried the Liverpool defenders and dispossessed Bonner as she tried to shepherd the ball out of play. She then picked out Christiansen and her clever footwork took her away from a challenge before slotting past Laws in the 69th minute.
There was a real sense around the stadium that Blues could complete the comeback and they continued to press with Player of the Match Moore having an effort blocked, Linnett just failing to make contact with an overhead kick and Weston blazing wide from distance.
With Blues piling pressure on the visitors, Laws was thrice called into action to clear balls over the top of the defence and when Whitney Engen sold her goalkeeper short with an attempted headed back pass, Christiansen’s attempted lob couldn’t quite clear the visiting stopper.
Time was running out for the hosts to snatch a point and, eventually, Liverpool hung on to take all three points which saw them return to the FA WSL summit, despite Arsenal’s win earlier in the afternoon.
Blues XI: Spencer; Weston, Westwood, Torkildsen, Harrop; Lawley (Haines, 51), Moore, Potter, Christiansen; Carney; Linnett.
Unused subs: Simpkins, Wilkinson, Mannion, George, Earps.
Booked: Weston (23), Potter (54), Torkildsen (76).
Goals: Haines (52), Christiansen (69).
Liverpool XI: Laws, Engen, Williams, Bonner, Bronze, Omarsdottir, Dowie, Fors (Longhurst, 74), Rolser, Da Costa (Holbrook, 85), Schroder (Easton, 81).
Unused subs: Quantrill, Chappell, Gregorious.
Goals: Rolser (25, 40, 50), Fors (31).
Referee: Amy Fearn