It is Sunday, December 1st, and Liverpool Women have lost, again, to Manchester City. This is their seventh loss in eight games, in the FA Women’s Super League. It is tiring, and upsetting, and one cannot write another losing recap. If someone had asked at the start of this season, for both teams, that for the Men’s team to win the Premier League for the first time (and win the league after 30 years) but at the expense of the Women’s team getting relegated, I would’ve told you no thank you.
And yet here we are, with the Men’s team leading the league with a sizeable cushion, and the Women’s team firmly in last place. Relegation is a very real fear for the Women’s team, and for that the club should be ashamed. We at TLO have spoken a lot about what needs to happen from the club’s side of things, from Peter Moore downward, to help the Women’s team flourish. It’s no secret that what they need is dedicated investment into the players and team they claim is part of their “two teams, one club” ethos.
These changes won’t happen overnight, we all know that too. Significant changes have been made, with a more detailed focus on social media, and their effectiveness is to be determined at this point. We’re also in December, four months into the season, with very little signs of improvement. And those signs come from the team themselves, not from the club at all.
The Reds have played 8 matches so far, and only scored a single goal, that came from a penalty. Their performances have been far from dire, though, and there is skill and talent on this team, as myself and Ritika continuously point out. But there are 14 matches left in the season, in the league. There are 42 points on the table, and even one win will bring them out of relegation at this point. Just one. They’re not the only team without a win, but even Bristol City has 3 draws, and we only have the one.
What will it take to bring Liverpool out of this? Tanking the team doesn’t work like it does in baseball or any other sport. We don’t receive advantageous draft picks just for being the worst team. If anything, it makes it harder to come back and compete against the top teams. Just ask Sunderland.
The answers seem easy enough — more investment — and yet it might be too late for even that solution. If the money isn’t there, we won’t be able to attract players in the Winter transfer window. Does the club even allow the Women’s team to use their analytics department? Would that even help? (Considering some of our decisions in the final third are... abysmal, I would guess so)? Do we need a stronger manager than Vicky Jepson? (I love her so I hope not).
And yet... all of these questions can be answered by those two words. More. Investment. That means in all aspects. If we train with League One facilities, if we use League One equipment, and are using League One resources, one can only expect a team to perform to League One standards. It is unfair, unethical, to expect these Women to perform above the resources available to them, when it is merely a choice on the behalf of the leaders of the club that they are relegated to that position. They are continually treated as an afterthought by the club, and are showing the benefits of those choices right now, this season.
Will that investment ever come? If it does, will it come in time to make an impact and save our season? A week of Mohamed Salah’s salary this season would make a huge difference. Moving the Women’s team from Tranmere to the brand new Academy facilities in Kirkby (like the rest of the men’s teams are doing) would make a huge difference. And yet.
Do these owners, this CEO, even deserve to be in the FA WSL at this rate? The Women’s Championship league certainly isn’t where a Liverpool team should be, and yet... those are the only opponents we manage to beat. The only players we manage to attract.
There has to be another way to survive than to watch our team and our players get outplayed week in and week out. And no one seems to be doing anything about it. It’s more than tactics, it’s more than skills (which our players have in spades). It’s about support, and more than fan support — which is also desperately needed — but support from the leaders of Liverpool Football Club. Right now, and for a long time, there hasn’t been enough. It starts from the top.
That’s what’s going on with the Liverpool Women, and why we sit in 12th and last place in the FA Women’s Super League.