This weekend, the Reds will aim to make it two wins from two when they battle their Merseyside rivals for the first time since November 2019, when the Toffees ran out 1-0 winners before Liverpool were relegated to the Championship at the end of the season.
Matt Beard’s newly-promoted side enjoyed a fine start to life back in the top flight last Sunday, overcoming title holders Chelsea with a shock 2-1 win in front of a record 3,000-strong crowd at Prenton Park.
Kiernan, Liverpool’s top scorer and club player of the season for the 2021/2022 promotion-winning campaign, gave a commanding performance up top before being forced off around the hour mark after a heavy challenge by Chelsea defender Kadeisha Buchanan.
The Republic of Ireland international has since undergone scans which indicate she will be out for several months and may require surgery.
Ahead of a huge match at Anfield, Beard observed that her injury could not have come at a worse time for the in-form attacker.
“It’s a big blow for us and for Leanne because she’s had a fantastic pre-season,” Beard said. “She’s been flying, scoring goals.”
“Maybe it was my curse, saying that physically it’s the best I’ve ever seen her - obviously I have worked with her since she was eighteen years old.
“The girls have rallied round her, we’ll rally round her and I know she’ll come back stronger than this.
“We’ve just got to make sure that we’re there for her in this moment.”
Meanwhile, van de Sanden’s wait for her first WSL appearance back in a Liverpool shirt goes on.
The Dutch international returned to Merseyside this summer after four seasons competing on the continent for Lyon and Wolfsburg.
She was expected to return for the Everton clash after missing the Reds’ opener against Chelsea with a minor achilles issue. But the derby comes too soon for van de Sanden, who Beard now expects to be out for the month.
The former West Ham manager could call upon attackers Yana Daniels, Melissa Lawley and Katie Stengel who are all fit and got minutes against Chelsea, with the latter providing both goals for Liverpool.