Blackburn Ladies manager Gemma Donnelly says Rovers were “under no illusions” that they were going to get through the group stage of the Continental Cup.
Rovers suffered a 6-0 defeat against Liverpool Women at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
Despite the heavy defeat, Donnelly was positive about the second half performance;
“I thought they were vastly better in the second half and I was disappointed to concede those last two goals
“The girls are feeling quite deflated right now but there are certainly some positives to take from that game.”
Liverpool show their class
Blackburn set out to stop Liverpool on the night but The Reds pure class showed throughout.
Rovers struggled to deal with The Reds attacking intensity and movement from the back.
From the beginning of the game Rinsola Babajide and Melissa Lawley caused major issues for the home side, with both wingers direct styles forcing Donnelly’s side to rethink their tactics.
The first goal came on the 10 minute mark after a cross from Babajide missed everyone in the box and fell to full back Rhiannon Roberts, whose subsequent cross floated past the keeper and into the far corner.
Liverpool had a number of shots from range and the warning signs were there when Lawley put a shot narrowly over the bar.
Babajide then picked up the ball 30 yards out, beat two Blackburn players and excellently curled a shot into the top corner.
Now it was Lawley’s turn, who picked up a through ball and shifted it onto her strong foot before calmly slotting it past Lauren Perry in the Rovers goal.
Blackburn continued to struggle when Roberts’ cross found a teammate, and not the net, with Ashley Hodson duly obliging and putting away the fourth of the half.
Donnelly changed the formation at half time and her team looked a lot more defensively solid, with neither side mustering a shot on target for the first 25 minutes of the second half.
Babajide had her first sniff in the 72nd minute after picking the ball up 6 yards out but Rovers substitute Danielle Whitham put in a fantastic tackle to stop the 21-year-old putting away her second of the game.
A rare attack from Blackburn was ultimately their undoing as Liverpool won the ball back deep in their half and a long ball to Courtney Sweetman-Kirk resulted in the Reds’ fifth.
The final nail in the coffin was a fantastic free kick into the top corner from teenage substitute Missy Bo Kearns.
“They’re quicker, sharper, leaner and meaner”
Blackburn Rovers’ manager was impressed with Liverpool after the game, calling them “quicker, sharper leaner and meaner.”
“They’re athletes”, said Donnelly, “That’s the difference with full time professionals to a newly promoted club.”
Donelly later admitted that her team learn from playing against an opposition from a higher league;
“It’s all experience for us and I want to take the positives for today’s game because there were many.”