Despite defeating Liverpool and finishing the Women’s Super League with seven straight victories, Manchester United was denied the championship.

United went into the final day of the season with the chance of a maiden WSL triumph, but as they started the game two points behind Chelsea they needed a win to give themselves a chance of overcoming the leaders in eventual defeat.

They were heading for a frustrating draw until Lucia Garcia came off the bench to strike the winner for the second straight weekend.

However, Chelsea won 3-0 at bottom club Reading to claim the title for the fourth successive season after finishing on 58 points, two more than United.

Marc Skinner’s side needed an early goal to put pressure on the Blues, but it was Liverpool who came close to scoring the opener when Shanice van de Sanden’s cross nearly crept in. Nikita Parris headed Rachael Laws in before the Liverpool goalkeeper deflected Parris’ shot off the post late in the first half.

United goalkeeper Mary Earps made a fine dive to deny Emma Koivisto before Garcia’s fine finish gave United’s big away support among a crowd of 5,778 – a record for a Liverpool women’s match at Prenton Park – something to cheer about .

United are missing two points

There was obvious disappointment at the final whistle among the United players who narrowly missed out on the title, but we must bear in mind that they enjoyed their best season in women’s football having only formed in their current guise in 2018 as runners-up. – level side. club.

It was a season of firsts for Skinner’s team. A top-two finish, a place in the Women’s Champions League and reaching a first Women’s FA Cup final are all a big step in the right direction. The United boss will spend the next four months, before the 2023-24 season kicks off on 29 September, plotting a way to overcome Chelsea’s dominance and secure the title for the first time.

Skinner said before the final game of the season that his players needed an unlikely set of circumstances to prevent Chelsea from winning the league for a fourth successive season and that they needed an early goal to keep pressure on the leaders .

The United boss said he wanted to be briefed on events 200 miles away at the Select Car Leasing Stadium where Chelsea played Reading, but this game was goalless as news reached Prenton Park that the Blues were took the lead through Sam Kerr.

The United fans, who filled the pitch, were in high spirits for the match, but the mood was subdued after learning Chelsea had doubled their lead before the break.

Skinner grew increasingly animated as his side’s title hopes faded, but at least Garcia’s goal ensured they finished a very encouraging season with a win.

Hardworking Liverpool let United fight

Liverpool boss Matt Beard said on the eve of the season the aim was to stay in the WSL and “be as competitive as possible” after winning promotion from the league. They have certainly been in front of their own fans and can look forward to another season at the top level following several impressive performances, including victories over Chelsea and Manchester City.

Liverpool did a good job of shutting down United and limiting their opponents to just two tries before the break.

Beard’s side suffered a 6-0 defeat to United at Leigh Sports Village in January but, fueled by an enthusiastic home following, came face to face with their opponents before being sunk by Garcia’s winner.

They finished the season seventh in the 12-team league and well away from relegation.

Liverpool manager Matt Beard: “We can be proud of what we’ve achieved this season, but obviously we want more. Now it’s about looking ahead and making sure we improve next season.

“We will take a lot of self-confidence and confidence with us from this season. We know that most of the time we’re a tough team to beat, whether there’s a chance or not.”

“We have to build on the confidence from the second half of the season. There will be many players who go into next season with much better headspace.”

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