Manchester City is a tough side to face, regardless of the squad, and Wednesday evening was no different for Liverpool Women. In their last group stage match of the Continental Cup, the Reds were defeated by the visiting City players at Prenton Park by 2 goals.
After a defensively dominant first half, Liverpool weren’t able to hang on and Manchester City broke through with goals from Filippa Angeldahl and Mary Fowler. Not to mention we’ve unfortunately added to our injury list heading into the last match of the calendar year.
“It was always going to be a tough game for us tonight. I felt we defended really well in the first half, I think they opened us up maybe once,” manager Matt Beard said following the match.
“The injuries, with obviously Charlotte [Wardlaw] having to go off and then Razza [Rhiannon Roberts] sort of hurt us a little bit. Then we had Carla [Humphrey] and Hannah [Silcock] cramp up for their second goal.
“The frustrating thing was, the first one we had Razza off but we just need to clear our lines. The second goal, we’ve got Carla and Hannah down but we still could have defended it a little bit better. But there’s still positives we can take from tonight; from our perspective, we’ve got the minutes into the people that need minutes and the good thing is we keep everyone fresh for Sunday as well.”
There were positives to take from the match, though, with a few chances in the first half despite City’s own defensively play. It just came down to finishing, really, and goes back to Liverpool missing their goal scorer Leanne Kiernan through her own injury. While the likes of Katie Stengel and Shanice van de Sanden (when available) have stepped up and been able to make goals happen, it hasn’t been enough. Missy Bo Kearns was the closest on the evening and still couldn’t get that goal the Reds needed.
“I thought Missy Bo was excellent tonight, that was probably her best performance in a Liverpool shirt this season, for sure. As I said, they’re a tough team to play against and I felt we did OK in certain moments, especially pleased with the defensive shape in the first half,” Beard continued.
“The thing we said at half-time was there were areas we felt we could hurt them, we just needed to be a little bit more positive when we broke their press. We kept going backwards when we could have gone forwards.
“Sometimes when you play the top, top teams you’re a little bit hesitant about breaking forward just in case, but we need to create those spaces and trust that – like we did against West Ham at the weekend, once we broke it we were flooding forward. That’s another learning curve for us tonight and we’ve got to make sure we learn from that and we just keep moving forward.”
Forward means the last match before the holiday break, with Liverpool hosting Leicester City Women at Prenton Park this coming. Leicester have been having their own struggles this season, so there’s potential there to get a win and get back some of the confidence that had been earned through the last few results.
“It’s a big game, we know that. I’ve got every faith and confidence in the group, we have been playing well for the last three or four weeks and we’re getting that confidence back up at this level,” added Beard.
“We’re looking forward to the game and we’ll do as much as we can to win it, as we always do. We’re looking forward to it.”