It’s been a bit of a topsy-turvy start to the season for the Liverpool FC Women. Their planned season opener was postponed due to the death of the queen, meaning the Reds officially opened their season with a surprise win over reigning WSL champions Chelsea. Optimism abounded heading into the Merseyside derby, but Liverpool were outclassed by Everton in all facets of the game in front of over 27,500 fans at Anfield. The Red’s got a nice boost heading into the international break in their first foray into cup competition this season, defeating Sunderland 1-0.
After the match, manager Matt Beard shared his thoughts in an interview with Liverpoolfc.com. Despite only winning by a single goal, Beard felt his team performed quite well.
It was good, first of all, to keep a clean sheet. Second, I thought we controlled the game pretty much with the ball, created numerous chances [and] on another day maybe we could’ve got a few more. But it was good to bounce back from the performance against Everton at Anfield. We won today with a clean sheet but I was really pleased with the work ethic of the team, just getting back to basics and doing the right things. As I said, we’ve created probably three or four really good chances today, converted one, not quite taken the others – but the most important thing is we’ve created.
Coming off of a difficult loss, and playing against a lower-division team in cup competition, Beard handed starts to a lot of players who had not seen much action yet this season. For the manager, it was an opportunity to provide competition for minutes when the squad returns from the international break.
Like I said at the start of the week to the players, it’s an opportunity now in training, shirts are up for grabs because we didn’t put in what our normal performance levels are, especially without the ball with the work ethic, etc. But from my perspective, Carla’s got good minutes into her, Furney’s got good minutes into her, Robey has as well. Obviously congratulations to Eartha on her debut – I thought she was excellent today. So, there’s loads of positives to take. This is a tough place to come. Sunderland are a tough team to play against, they’re organized, they’re physical but I felt we dealt really well with that today.
It’s always nice to take some momentum into an international break, especially for Liverpool who have a very difficult stretch of games coming up through the rest of October. While Liverpool have a decent few players heading out for international duty, there will be a relatively sizeable group of players who will remain in Liverpool to prepare.
We’ve got a good group staying, which gives us a real good opportunity to work on a few bits. We’ll obviously keep the group motivated, we’ll keep working hard in training. We can really focus on our play, especially with the players that we’ve got staying behind. We’ve pretty much got the front three, pretty much got the backline and the wing-backs that will still be here, so we can get some good work in.
Beard’s good day continued after the match and the interview as he trounced Missy Bo Kearns in FIFA on the team bus back to Liverpool.