Rapid rise of ‘Bo Salah’ shows no signs of stopping

Liverpool FC Women correspondent LAUREN MCCANN says Missy Bo Kearns has already emerged as a key player for the Reds – and predicts the young Scouser to go far.

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Missy Bo Kearns has arguably been the Reds’ Player of the Year so far, and seems destined for greatness given how well she has fared in her breakout campaign for Liverpool.

The 19-year-old Scouser has a goal and three assists to her name so far this season, picking up the Standard Chartered Player of the Month award covering January and February, as recognition for her growing influence in the side.

She has, along with recent recruit Ceri Holland, become one of the first names on the team sheet for Amber Whiteley, establishing herself as a key cog in the middle of the park with her superb passing range and set piece technique. It’s no coincidence her good form has coincided with the Reds winning their last three games.

Kearns driving runs in behind caused both London Bees and Coventry United huge problems. She came off the bench to assist Niamh Fahey’s winner against Crystal Palace with a pinpoint corner before repeating the feat a week later, delivering another dangerous corner which Fahey eventually turned home as the Reds ran out 5-0 winners.


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Legendary Liverpool commentator Steve Hunter christened the midfielder ‘Bo Salah’ after the London Bees game, and she has certainly lived up to the billing since then. There’s no disputing the fact that the England u19 international has all the talent in the world to inspire Liverpool Women to great success, just as the Egyptian King has since arriving at Anfield.

It would be much sweeter for Kearns to help Liverpool Women get back to where they belong, given that she is a childhood Liverpool fan who, in a pre-Covid, world could regularly be spotted at Anfield cheering the Reds to Champions League and Premier League glory in recent years.

It has been a rapid ascent for Kearns since she made her debut as a 17-year-old substitute against Chelsea in the WSL, two years ago this month.

The Liverpudlian grew up playing football for Mossley Hill, the same boys’ team as former Reds’ academy striker Bobby Duncan and current Liverpool starlet Curtis Jones. In interviews Kearns has spoken of her delight at the fact that both her and Jones’ careers have taken off at similar times, and both look set to be mainstays on Merseyside for the next decade and beyond.

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She signed for Liverpool aged eight and was coached in her early days at the centre of excellence by Vicky Jepson, the same manager who would go on to hand Kearns her first team debut just six years later before bringing her into the first team fold for this year’s Championship campaign.

Kearns had starred for the Reds’ development side in the 2018/19 season, before she was rewarded with her debut off the bench against the Blues. She remained with the youth team for the remainder of the campaign, as the young Reds clinched a league and cup double

She scored her first goal for Liverpool against Blackburn in November of that year, as a stunning long range strike to help the Reds to a 5-1 win in the Continental Cup to cap off a memorable year for the midfielder.

Another huge milestone came in January last year, as Kearns signed her first professional contract at the club, a huge show of faith in the midfielder’s undeniable talent from the club, who were eager to tie ‘one of our own’ down with a long-term deal.

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Opportunities were hard to come by last season given the tumultuous nature of it, and the perilous position the Reds found themselves in, battling relegation near the bottom of the WSL before eventually dropping down a league when the season was curtailed and the table was decided on a points per game basis.

After signing her pro deal it was agreed that dropping down to the Championship to play first team football would be beneficial to continue Kearns’ development, and so she linked up with Blackburn Rovers, (the club who she scored her first goal for Liverpool against) on a loan deal until the end of the campaign.

Frustratingly for Kearns she would spend just two months at Rovers before lockdown hit and an initial enforced hiatus resulted in the premature end of all tiers of the women’s game in the country.

The youngster then returned to home to a club who were devastated by the confirmation of their relegation, having won the league just six seasons earlier. Despite the pessimism surrounding the side since, the Reds’ drop to the Championship has undoubtedly aided the attacking midfielder.

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With mass departures in the summer and finances tight, Jepson was forced to look within the club for those who could spearhead a promotion push and an immediate return to the WSL, and Kearns was top of the list.

Her chance came in November as she started her first game for the Reds, and what an occasion it was – a Merseyside Derby in a Continental Cup tie against Everton.

Although Liverpool fell to defeat that day Kearns was their standout player, grasping her opportunity with both hands, and she hasn’t looked back since. She has impressed when playing in her favoured attacking midfield role, seeming increasingly more comfortable at this level with every passing game.

Her performances have gone up another level since Whiteley took over. Kearns netted her first goal of the season in the crucial showdown with Leicester in the new boss’ first game in charge, before recording those assists against Crystal Palace and Coventry United, and repeatedly catching the eye in all the games she has played during Whiteley’s short tenure so far.

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An area of improvement no doubt will be the goals scored column, given the amount of great positions Kearns picks up her finishing so far has left a lot to be desired. This can be worked on, however, and her clinical streak will no doubt come with an extended run in the team and with experience. The fact she is getting into such positions is already a positive sign.

The Reds have five games left to salvage some pride from what has been a challenging campaign to say the least, but a good one for Kearns on a personal level. She has as emerged as one of Liverpool’s brightest and most important players and is in with a real chance of winning the Player of the Year award.

If interim boss Whiteley is handed the reigns on a permanent basis in the summer to lead a serious promotion charge she will surely aim to build her team around the young Scouser, to get the best results for Kearns and for the team.

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Helping her beloved Reds back into the WSL is no doubt a burning ambition for the midfielder, not only as it would it allow her to test herself against the best players in the country, but it could also boost her hopes of receiving a senior England call up some time in the future.

For now she is focused on helping the Reds continue their good form and have a strong end to the season, as they resume league action against her former side Blackburn next Sunday.


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