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Rachael Laws Talks Breaking Her Own Records And Facing Arsenal On Sunday

The number one has been an integral part of Matt Beard’s puzzle this season.

Sheffield United Women v Liverpool Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Rachael Laws is no stranger to the Reds - she helped the women win back to back league titles back in 2013 and 2014 and has been an important part of this year’s march towards promotion.

Now the Women are ten points clear at the top of the table with promotion within their grasp and the plan is to just take each match one at a time.

“We are still taking it game by game and we are not getting carried away thinking we can win this title before the end of the season,” Laws told the club website in a recent interview.

“We are taking it game by game and that’s credit to the staff who have drilled that into us. We are a really close group, we know what we want to achieve and we have a lot of quality in this team.

“A few years ago I would say, looking back, it was all about experience being the main thing, but I think being in this team this year we’ve got a really good mix of youth and experience and those two mixed together make it a really good formula for success. I’ve been there, a lot of the girls have been in this position for their country as well as the club having played in finals, semi-finals and big occasions.

“I do think we have enough experience in this team to get us over the line but we kind of need that youth coming through, which we have the freshness of it. We look at them as much as they look at us.

“Because they are young they don’t feel the pressure, where if you are a little bit older you do think about things that little bit more and you think of scenarios in your head. Yes, I’ve been here before with Liverpool FC Women and we’ve got it over the line, but we are not getting carried away and hopefully that really good mix of experience and youth can get us over the line.”

Liverpool have only lost one match in the league so far, and that was on opening day against London City - quite the turnaround from previous seasons when losses outnumbered wins and landed them in the Championship. Their strategy for the season has paid off, though, as they go into the home stretch.

“We said at the start of the season we are going to take one game at a time, which we have continued to do,” Laws continued.

“In our first game we lost and from then we have only lost once to Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental Women’s League Cup.

“After every game in the huddle Matt always says to us we keep our feet on the ground, we stay humble, it’s the business end of the season and we have to win games but we can’t think too far ahead, and that’s exactly what we are doing.

“Game by game it seems to be working at the moment and regardless of who we are playing or how well we are doing, we prepare all week like we do for anybody.”

Now the next game ahead is Arsenal in the FA Cup at Prenton Park - a big test for the Women but a real chance to also show they belong back in the Super League. Their biggest advantage though? Laws says the fans.

“It’s a bit of a free hit, they are not just one of the best teams in England but are one of the best teams in Europe,” said Laws.

“Going up against Arsenal in the FA Cup, I’m glad it’s a home draw and we’ll have our fans behind us who are really important. They have come in their numbers this season and they have got us over the line in some games. It’s nice we can repay them with a big cup game and it’s a free hit because we don’t lose points.

“We do want to progress as much as anybody else and it gives us a good gauge of where we are as a team. We want to be a WSL team and we want to be challenging with teams like Arsenal week in, week out and we feel with the team and squad we have we are able to compete.

“When that whistle blows hopefully we can compete and what better match to test ourselves in? We are going to give it a good go and hopefully come out on top.”

And that record? Oh right, it was her own record with the club for clean sheets in a season. Laws’ previous record was 9 clean sheets, and the recent match against Sunderland put her over her own bar - a record she didn’t even realize she was close to breaking despite conceding only once in 2022.

“I spoke to Will Hughes who does the matchday programme and he told me I was close to beating it, and to be honest I didn’t even know I had a record!” Laws said.

“It’s nice. Clean sheets are great but it’s not just a clean sheet under my name, it’s about the team. I’m so quick to pass the buck and say the girls in front of me work just as hard. I had to work a little bit harder against Sunderland for that clean sheet but I’m happy to play my part.

“Is it nice to break records? Absolutely, but those three points are all that matters and even if we had won 3-1 or 3-2 I wouldn’t have minded. It’s all about winning the game.

“Hopefully I can keep a few more clean sheets before the end of the season and increase on that No.10. It was actually a nice surprise when I got it because I didn’t think about it before and during the Sunderland game. It was only when Matt came up to me after the game and said it that I realised it actually was and that’s when it clicked!

“I’ll work as hard as I can for this team until the cows come home but it’s not just me, it’s the team and we are all in this together.”

Laws’ dedication to the squad and the season has been more important than ever, and with silverware and another potential league title ahead? Things are looking pretty nice for our number one.