Ladies to face Liverpool in last-eight ties

Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes reacts to the Continental Tyres Cup quarter-final draw, which gave her side a game at home to Liverpool. It will be played on 17 December at 2pm.

Having won our group, the Blues could only be paired against sides finishing second, which left us with three possibilities: Liverpool, Everton or Arsenal.

A home draw against the Reds means we will end 2017 having played four games at Kingsmeadow on the trot and Hayes is looking forward to welcoming the North-West club to KT1 for the second time this season, having beaten them 1-0 in the WSL1 in October.

‘It’s a tough draw for us but we’re delighted to be at home and playing in front of our wonderful supporters at Kingsmeadow,’ she said.

‘We won all four of our group matches, but that counts for nothing if we don’t get the job done against Liverpool. We’ve never really shown what we’re capable of in this competition, but we’ve got a squad which is strong enough to compete for every single trophy and we want to get our hands on the lot this year.’

The other quarter-final ties are: Bristol City v Manchester City, Arsenal v Sunderland and Everton v Reading. The semi-finals are due to take place on the weekend of 13/14 January.

The manager also looked back on our 4-1 win over Spurs last night, which guaranteed our spot at the top of the group.

While it was an emotional night at Kingsmeadow as the club celebrated Claire Rafferty’s 10 years of service to the Blues, Hayes felt the first-half performance wasn’t befitting of either the left-back’s special day or the usual high standards set by her team.

‘We were poor in the first half, a little too casual in our approach, and while we're celebrating Raff's 10 years, I told the players at half-time that I expected more than that from them. We improved after the break and we hit the crossbar four times in the game, as well as scoring four goals. But we gave away a sloppy goal and we weren't clinical enough.

‘I've said all year that we're going to play against a lot of teams that are happy to be without the ball. While I think my team has improved significantly in terms of the variation of our play when coming up against that block, this was the first time I felt we took too long to finish. Hopefully we're saving it for Sunday against Man City.’

Hayes also looked at what the future may hold for Rafferty, as the left-back is out of contract at the end of 2017/18.

‘Raff has got the opportunity to stay here beyond the season but for her it's a case of weighing up her future and the options she has and what matters to her,’ she said. ‘I'm sure she'll do that when the time is right for her.’