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Liverpool 2 - 3 Arsenal Women: a must-win game won

The Gunners aren’t quite out of the title race yet.

Liverpool v Arsenal - FA Women’s Super League - Lookers Vauxhall Stadium Photo by Nigel French/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Arsenal Women beat Liverpool 3-2, recording a much-needed win and keeping their slim but non-zero title chances alive.

The Gunners played without Kim Little, recovering from foot surgery; Jill Roord, suspended for yellow card accumulation; Lia Wälti, Katrine Veje, and Danielle Carter, all still out after missing the match against Manchester City; and Caitlin Foord, who played for the Matildas today in their Olympic qualifier against China. Arsaenal are still mathematically in the title hunt, having to win every one of their remaining games and hope for Chelsea and City to drop points. With Liverpool second to last in the WSL table, today’s match might have looked deceptively easy, but the Reds are no slouches on defense—regardless of the opponent, Arsenal had their work cut out for them.

Arsenal pushed up the pitch from the opening whistle, with Jordan Nobbs drawing a good save from Liverpool keeper Anke Preuss just a few minutes into the game. Nobbs hit a few subsequent chances wide of the goal, and although Arsenal kept Liverpool under pressure, the Reds got themselves on the scoreboard first. Rinsola Babajide broke free on a counterattack, outran Viktoria Schnaderbeck, and poked a shot under Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

The Gunners hadn’t yet come from behind to win a game this season, but to their credit, they stuck to their strategy and picked up the pace. Liverpool are among the best defensive teams in the WSL, but Arsenal found the target with half an hour gone—Vivianne Miedema collected a cross from Nobbs and lobbed it over the line. Nobbs got her goal just two minutes later, receiving the ball from Lisa Evans and beating Preuss this time with a header.

But Liverpool kept searching for opportunities on the counterattack, and Rachel Furness levelled the score on other breakaway with a hard shot over Peyraud-Magnin and into the top of the goal. The Arsenal keeper might have done better on Liverpool’s first goal, but had no chance on the second.

The second half began with Leighanne Robe going into the book for a nasty challenge on Beth Mead. Mead hobbled off the field with two Arsenal trainers, unable to put any weight on her right knee. Jen Beattie came on in Mead’s place. The game had become scrappy and disorganized, and neither Miedema nor Nobbs could take advantage of the confusion that Arsenal created in Preuss’s box.

Arsenal were still searching for a winner with just twelve minutes of regular time left, and as Liverpool began to tire, Miedema came through for her team again and doubled her goal tally. Leonie Maier lofted the ball in from the right flank, and Miedema hit a powerful header beyond Preuss and into the top corner. The Gunners continued to pepper Liverpool’s box and play keepaway as the game came to a close, and Miedema’s second proved to be the winner.

The Gunners are now three points behind Manchester City and two behind Chelsea with seven matches still to play (although Chelsea have a game in hand). City and Chelsea face off on Sunday the 23rd, which might give Arsenal the opportunity to overtake one of them and move into the Champions League places, but they’ll need both of their rivals to drop points in order to retain the league title.