Chelsea vs Liverpool WSL clash postponed after six minutes

Chelsea vs Liverpool was postponed after six minutes
Chelsea vs Liverpool was postponed after six minutes / Clive Rose/GettyImages

From Kingsmeadow - The WSL clash between Chelsea and Liverpool was postponed after six minutes of play on Sunday due to the unplayable pitch conditions.

Despite the minus temperature overnight, the game had initially been given the go ahead at 10:15am following a pitch inspection at 9:30am. Covers were left on the field and ice was removed with rakes and leaf blowers in the build up to kick off.

The match kicked off as normal at 12:30pm, but the referee then gathered the teams and managers on the half way line after six minutes of action following complaints from players about the playing conditions.

Shortly after, Liverpool players went to applaud their supporters and an announcement over the tannoy confirmed the game had been postponed. Boos from the Kingsmeadow crowd greeted the news.

Both Emma Hayes and Matt Beard agreed that the postponement was the correct decision, but the Liverpool boss lamented the fact it wasn't made earlier. The game was being broadcast on BBC Two.

"A pitch inspection determined that the game was on at about 10:30, and to be honest with you, the decision to call it off at this moment is wrong in terms of the timing but right for the players," Hayes told supporters.

"I think we have to reflect and learn that as a league that we're not putting fans in this position again. But I want you to understand that from a player's perspective, the pitch really is unplayable. It's really icy down the sides and it's easy for an accident to happen. I just feel gutted for you guys that have come out - I promise I'll buy you all a hot dog if you come to the next game."

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Liverpool moved their warm up to a different area on the Kingsmeadow pitch as they did not deem their initial location safe. Players raised concerns to the referee about the condition of the pitch after the warm up.

"It could have been called off at 9:30, because it wasn't playable at 9:30," said Beard. "It is what it is. I don't think it should have gone ahead. He [the referee] said it was safe but at the end of the day, it should have been called off this morning. We wanted to play the game because we travelled down yesterday - we actually started the game really well! It's frustrating but it shouldn't have started.

"Everyone can see in that first five minutes that the pitch wasn't safe so I don't know where the pressure came from. It's not our decision. The referee should have made the decision today at 9:30.

"I don't know what the difference at 9:30 to 12:30 is, apart from they've got the covers on and they've got the heat on it. It's frustrating, it should never have started. It should never have been played, that's the be all and end all."

Six minutes were played before the referee called the teams into the centre circle - Katie Stengel had seen two goal-bound efforts blocked by Millie Bright, and Erin Cuthbert had taken a hefty tumble following a challenge with Shanice van de Sanden.

"The right decision was reached," Beard added. "At the end of the day, some one could have got hurt today. I could see people couldn't keep their feet and with the history of ACLs this year... the right decision was eventually made.

"Both captains weren't happy with the pitch, there were several incidents of players slipping over. I did say to the referee, because we were warming up over there, we had to move the warm up because it wasn't safe. And he basically said [after six minutes] he doesn't think the pitch is safe so he called the game off."

The Liverpool team had made the journey down to west London the night before, but many Reds supporters had departed Merseyside as early as 5am to make it to Kingsmeadow for the 12:30 kick off.

"I'm gutted for them," the Liverpool boss added. "The support's fantastic all the time. We're disappointed the game wasn't called earlier, for them."