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How Liverpool and Sheffield United came together in support of NWSL players

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Liverpool goalkeeper Rylee Foster said she had 'goosebumps' when her team-mates linked arms with Sheffield United opponents in the centre circle to show their support for NWSL players, in the wake of the abuse scandal in the United States.

That minute of silence and just being connected with Sheffield United and the referees and everything, it was just chilling, I had goosebumps the whole time.” Three days before Sheffield United and Liverpool’s gesture, players in the NWSL paused play in the sixth minute of their matches to link arms in the middle of the pitch, while fans in the stands held banners reading “protect out players”.

The two sides were the first English clubs to publicly express their solidarity with the NWSL players on the pitch ahead of Saturday's Championship match at Bramall Lane.

That saw an entire weekend of NWSL fixtures postponed and led to the departure of NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird, amid criticism of the NWSL’s handling of the situation.

Personally, knowing people in the NWSL, to support team-mates that I’ve grown up with and played against, but also players all over, to be able to stand with everyone was so important.

Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, fit-again Manchester City midfielder Keira Walsh and Manchester United striker Alessia Russo have all been brought into the Lionesses squad, while high-profile injured stars including Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze remain sidelined.

Sheffield United were already onboard, and it was just seamless.” Liverpool host top-flight side Aston Villa in the first set of group-stage fixtures in this season’s Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup tonight, and Foster is relishing the challenge, adding: “Our goal is to get to the WSL so, to see where we’re at and what we need to work on, these [cup games] are great opportunities.
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