The Liverpool FC Women ran the table in the FA Women’s Championship last season, earning promotion back to the WSL after two seasons in the lower division. There was a lot of cautious optimism heading into the season, with Matt Beard and company building a squad that had plenty of WSL experience as well as some exciting younger talents.
When the season schedule was released, it was revealed that Liverpool would have a very difficult opening stretch to the season, especially when the opening match of the season with Reading was postponed. In their first five matches, Liverpool faced Chelsea, Everton, Spurs, Arsenal, and Manchester City. Four of those sides were expected to at least be in the hunt for Champions League places, with Chelsea and Arsenal title favorites.
Unsurprisingly, the results have not bode well for the Reds. They got a shock win over Chelsea on opening day, but the Liverpool have failed to pick up a point over their next four matches. Liverpool sit 10th in the table after October, with only Brighton & Hove Albion and Leicester City behind them. The teams Liverpool have faced currently sit second through sixth in the table, bearing out that the squad was put through the wringer with their early schedule.
Despite the results, things are looking up for Matt Beard’s side. The performances have been getting progressively better with each match, with the Reds unlucky not to pick up a point against both Spurs and Manchester City. In addition, big summer signing Shanice van de Sanden is finally returning from an achilles injury that kept her out of the opening matches.
Liverpool now have a chance to gain some momentum and potentially some separation over their fellow relegation battlers over the next month and a half. Between the start of November and the winter break, starting in mid-December, Matt Beard’s side will take on teams who are all currently in the bottom half of the table. Let’s take a look at the upcoming WSL matches from now until the winter break in mid-December.
Aston Villa (Nov. 6)
Current Standing: 8, Points: 6, Goals For: 8, Goals Against: 9
First up, Liverpool will host Aston Villa. After opening the season strong with wins over Manchester City and Leicester City, Villa have lost their next three. They scored six of their eight goals in their first two matches, only scoring twice since. Rachel Daly is their main goal threat, with four on the season.
Brighton & Hove Albion (Nov. 20)
Current Standing: 11, Points: 3, Goals For: 2, Goals Against: 19
After the November international break, Liverpool will have a busy seven day stretch with three matches. First they will head to the south coast to take on Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls scored two goals in their only win of the season over Brighton, and have failed to score in their other four matches, all of which ended in a loss. Brighton have conceded a league-leading 19 times, including 8 to Spurs this past weekend.
Reading (Nov. 24)
Current Standing: 9, Points: 3, Goals For: 5, Goals Against: 11
Matt Beard’s side will head back on the road for a mid-week match to play their rescheduled fixture against Reading. The Royals got their only points of the season thus far with a 2-1 win over Leicester City last weekend. They have lost all of their other WSL matches, but all have been a loss by one goal other than a 4-0 drubbing by Manchester United.
West Ham United (Dec. 4)
Current Standing: 7, Points: 9, Goals For: 8, Goals Against: 11
After a Continental League Cup group stage match with Blackburn, Liverpool will return to league play with a home match against West Ham United. The Hammers are one of the handful of teams who have played six matches thus far, and have won three and lost three on the season. Iceland international Dagný Brynjarsdóttir is a legitimate goal threat, notching four goals in six matches.
Leicester City (Dec. 11)
Current Standing: 12, Points: 0, Goals For: 2, Goals Against: 12
Liverpool will again have a Continental League Cup group stage match between WSL fixtures, hosting Manchester City on Dec. 7 before the last match before the winter break with Leicester City. The Foxes have struggled mightily this season, failing to pick up any points in the league thus far. They have already lost to Liverpool in the Continental League Cup as well, though that won’t mean much. Leicester City have only scored one goal themselves, courtesy of Natasha Flint, with the other goal recorded in their favor coming from an own goal. They have also already lost to bottom half sides Aston Villa and Reading, so will likely be fighting for their lives against Liverpool.
Having been battle tested by the top teams in the division, Matt Beard and his squad should feel well prepared to start picking up results over their next five matches. To me, seven points seems to be a fair goal to target, putting the reds on 10 points with just over half the season left to play. For reference, Leicester City avoided relegation last season by finishing with 13 points, two ahead of Birmingham, City.
How many points do you see Liverpool picking up over the next stretch of games?