With fewer teams in the UK and longer international breaks, the women’s team schedules have always been unbalanced. After only playing twice in December, and not having a league match since November, the LFC Women will finally resume competition again this weekend.
Matt Beard’s side come out of their winter break into what will most likely be the busiest stretch of the season. Liverpool will play five times in January, including three league matches, the FA WSL Cup Quarterfinals against Tottenham, and an FA Women’s Cup fourth round match with Lincoln City.
Liverpool come into this stretch sitting at the top of the FA Women’s Championship, two points ahead of Durham and with the Reds holding a game in hand. The Reds will go to 10th place Blackburn on Sunday before hosting last place Watford on the 16th. They’ll also head to 4th place Crystal Palace on the 23rd. The only mid-week game will be away to Tottenham on the 19th, sandwiched between Watford and Crystal Palace. The Lincoln City game will finish out the month on the 30th.
Matt Beard’s side is quite likely the deepest squad in the league, and should have almost his full compliment to choose from. Backup goalkeeper Rylee Foster remains out indefinitely, but forward Rianna Dean has been the only other player who was not at least training before the last match in December, and with no news from the team, it is hard to know how close she is to returning. Beard did, however, see the return of Charlotte Wardlaw and the first appearance in a Liverpool shirt for Megan Campbell in the last match before the break. Top scorer Leanne Kiernan is expected to be back and fully fit after a slight hamstring issue kept her out of the two cup matches in December.
With the focus on promotion back to the WSL and a bevy of options, Beard should be able to put out a very strong side for each of the league matches. The question will be how much will he risk playing regular starters against Spurs in the FA WSL Cup quarterfinals. Even with rotation, however, Beard should still be able to field a very competitive side in all of the matches this month.