Liverpool returned to the WSL in 2022 after a two-year absence from the top flight, with the Reds back where they belong having previously been crowned top flight champions twice almost a decade earlier.

Notoriously, only one promotion place is available in the Women’s Championship and the Reds had fallen short in their pursuit of it in 2020/21.

But there was to be no such repeat in 2021/22 as Matt Beard’s side finished 11 points clear of the rest to secure a place in the WSL. Most wins, most goals scored, fewest conceded and best goal difference tells you plenty about the dominant nature of their season.

This was an important one because Liverpool actually started the Championship season with a surprise home defeat when London City Lionesses were the visitors in Birkenhead. So it was vital to respond with a performance and pick up three points, which they did at Watford.

Rianna Dean scored twice after Missy Bo Kearns had opened the scoring. And although two late Watford goals made a for a nervy finish, it was a win in the bag to get the ball rolling for the season ahead.

Even with three points against Watford, it still wasn’t a smooth start for Liverpool, especially at home. Having lost against London City Lionesses, Bristol City then took a point at Prenton Park, putting considerable pressure on the next home fixture against Crystal Palace.

Taylor Hinds opened the scoring, but Ashley Hodson’s first half winner came almost straight after Palace had equalised through a big slice of luck.

Durham can be a notoriously hard place to go and win as an away team and this game took on even more significance as it was a case of first vs second. The Wildcats were leading the way in the Championship at the time.

It was a hard fought contest, but two quickfire goals from Leanne Kiernan and Taylor Hinds in the second half secured the win and sent Liverpool top of the table.

What a way to return to action after the winter break and nearly month out of action. Liverpool’s thumping 6-0 win at Blackburn proved to be the biggest away win in the Championship all season.

Leanne Kiernan scored a six-minute hat-trick to really define the game and give the Reds their first league winning margin of the season by more than two goals. Niamh Fahey and Rachel Furness (two) also got on the score-sheet to give Matt Beard the perfect birthday present.

Liverpool clinched the Championship title and promotion with two games to spare. A point was all they needed but they put Bristol City to the sword at Ashton Gate, winning 4-2 to do it in style.

Niamh Fahey’s opener was cancelled out, but Jasmine Matthews and Katie Stengel made it 3-1 to the Reds. Bristol got another back, before Missy Bo Kearns sealed it late on and set the party celebrations in motion.

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