Liverpool FC Women lost 1-0 to Manchester United Women on the final day of the season.
Lucia Garcia’s goal 18 minutes from time settled Saturday’s Barclays Women’s Super League finale at Prenton Park, with the Reds ending their first campaign back in the top flight in seventh place and United finishing second as Chelsea Women beat Reading Women to retain the title.
Three of the seven players confirmed to be leaving the club this summer were included in Matt Beard’s matchday squad and Carla Humphrey, Leighanne Robe and Rhiannon Roberts all came off the bench for farewell appearances.
A record Prenton Park attendance for LFC Women of 5,778 saw United enjoy most of the ball in the early stages, but the Reds maintained a threat on the break thanks primarily to the pace of Shanice van de Sanden.
The hosts’ defence were resolute and returning goalkeeper Rachael Laws was not called into action until midway through the first half, when she comfortably saved Nikita Parris’ header.
There was nothing routine about Laws’ next intervention, however, as she made a fabulous fingertip stop to redirect a half-volley from Parris onto the post on the stroke of half-time.
With United needing to win to stand any chance of pipping Chelsea to the title, they emerged from the interval with greater urgency.
But, after Katie Zelem had overhit a low cross while seeking Parris at the far post, the better chances were Liverpool’s. Mary Earps gathered Ceri Holland’s header from a Katie Stengel cross before Beard sought to inject further attacking impetus with the introduction of Natasha Dowie.
Dowie’s first involvement was to deliver a low cut-back into the path of Emma Koivisto, whose sweeping first-time effort was well saved by Earps.
Soon after, though, United took the lead through Garcia, the Spain international firing home on the half-volley after she had run in behind the Reds’ backline.
Substitute Yana Daniels blasted a half-volley over the crossbar as Liverpool looked for a late equaliser, but United held on to claim all three points.
Liverpool FC Women: Laws, Koivisto (Robe, 75), Bonner, Matthews, Fahey (Roberts, 66), Hinds (Daniels, 86), Nagano, Holland, Kearns (Humphrey, 75), Van de Sanden (Dowie, 66), Stengel.
Unused subs: Cumings, Kirby, Taylor, Lundgaard.