After a summer of excitement and buildup and unbelievable support (in good ways and bad) for women’s football, the FA Women’s Super League season has begun, and with it Liverpool Women’s new campaign. The Red Women faced off against Reading on Sunday at Prenton Park, and sure it ended in a loss, but there were still positives to take from the match. Not to mention, it’s the first match of the season, no reason to start panicking (yet).
Manager Vicky Jepson sure sounded optimistic, speaking briefly to the club website following the match in Birkenhead.
“It was a frustrating day for us because I thought we deserved to draw and possibly even win it,” Jepson said, after the 0-1 loss to Reading.
“We created some good chances, especially in the second half, but we just weren’t clinical enough.
”We spoke before the game about the danger of giving free-kicks away on the edge of our penalty area with a player like Fara around, and that is the quality she has.”
Reading went ahead after the stunning free kick goal from former Liverpool player Fara Williams, naturally, and were unable to find an equalizer through the rest of the game. There were plenty of chances, but strikers Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Rinsola Babajide, and Ashley Hodson unable to either get behind the ball when needed to find the right touch to send it into the back of the net.
The weekend kicked off the season around the rest of the country, with major rivalries being played in the men’s stadiums like the Etihad and Stamford Bridge, in an attempt to build off the success of the Women’s World Cup. The Manchester rivalry played at the Etihad set a new record attendance of over 31,000 in the country and it shone a light on Liverpool and... well their lack of the same attendance and announcement.
As of now there is no announced match at Anfield, and the last time the women’s team played there was in 2013 for an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal. Jepson also spoke recently about the opportunity to play in the men’s stadiums and when that might happen for Liverpool.
“We just need to make sure it’s the right time, right date and right fixture,” Jepson said.
“It was great. We opened up the Kop and it was full [the last time]. We will look forward to maybe that happening again.”
The image of the Women’s team playing in front of a full Kop, while managing just over 1400 in attendance on Sunday, might be a little hard to grasp but it’s not out of reach. People want to see these teams play in these stadiums, and they want to support the women’s teams. They just need to be given the chance. Part of the reason why the Women’s World Cup does so well every year — the showcase of it all.
“That’s going to be a fantastic showcase on the opening day,” said Jepson. “It’s what the women’s game needs - showcasing and big stadiums.”
Hopefully Liverpool has gotten that message because no one does showcasing like Liverpool fans.