May 23, 2024

WSL: Lauren James Bags Hat-trick As Chelsea Trounce Liverpool

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By Sedara Philip

England forward Lauren James scored a hat-trick and created one goal as Chelsea beat Liverpool at Stamford Bridge to move six points clear at the top of the Women’s Super League.

 

In the Blues’ first home match since manager Emma Hayes announced she will leave her role at the end of the season to become the next boss of the United States women’s team, the hosts went ahead after only 11 minutes.

 

James collected the ball 30 yards out, ran at Liverpool defender Gemma Bonner, got into the penalty area, shifted the ball on to her left foot and drilled a low finish past Rachael Laws.

 

The assist for James’ goal went to Wales captain Sophie Ingle on the day she set a new WSL record for most appearances in the competition – her 184th game to move one clear of former Birmingham City and Tottenham defender Kerys Harrop.

 

However, Liverpool equalised against the run of play less than two minutes later.

 

Shanice van de Sanden was able to spin past England defender Jess Carter and run at the home defence, with Carter then inadvertently bundling the ball over her own goalline from Van de Sanden’s low cross.

 

James had been left out of the starting line-up for Chelsea’s 2-2 Champions League draw against Real Madrid on Wednesday, but was superb on her recall and her excellent cross from the left was headed in by Aggie Beever-Jones to restore Chelsea’s lead.

 

Chelsea added a third early in the second half, with James collecting Sam Kerr’s pass and drilling an excellent low strike into the corner from a tight angle. James then completed her first WSL hat-trick, getting to a pull-back from substitute Johanna Rytting Kaneryd before team-mate Sjoeke Nusken.

 

James started the move too for Chelsea’s fifth as she played in Rytting Kaneryd and her cross was finished at close range by Nusken.

 

Hayes’ team are chasing their fifth successive WSL title and have won six and drawn one of their opening seven league matches in 2023-24.

 

They have played a game more than second-placed Arsenal and the Gunners will cut the lead back to three points if they win away against Brighton on Sunday.

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