It was a rough outing on Saturday as Liverpool Women met Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, resulting in their worst loss of the season. There’s no getting around it, a 5-1 loss is disappointing, but when you’re up against the league leaders it was always going to be a tough match.
“It’s a frustrating result for us. We have said to the players after the game we are disappointed with the manner of the goals, especially when we worked hard to force Chelsea into turnovers,” manager Matt Beard said in his post match interview.
“If you give it straight back you just get punished against these top, top sides. So, disappointed with the goals. I do think we’ve had good moments today but I don’t think we should be conceding five goals at this level, and I don’t think Chelsea had to work necessarily really hard for their goals today and for me that’s the most frustrating point or part of the game for us.”
One of the most frustrating parts of the day’s performance was the uncharacteristic weakness in defense, no doubt a contributing factor to those five goals scored against Liverpool. Even in the few losses the Women have gone through, they’ve been narrow losses.
“We need to do better when we’ve got the ball to stop us having to do a half-pitch recovery,” Beard continued.
“If you look at the first goal, we’re in comfortable possession and we could have gone forward but we don’t, we have an extra touch – and today the extra touch killed us because they’re on you like a flash, and then we got punished. The second goal really typified our performance; seven seconds the ball is out of play and then within a throw and a pass, the ball is in the back of our net – and that can’t happen.”
There is one small consolation, in that the Reds were able to pull one back in the first half to equalize, hoping that that would help catalyze the rest of the squad, but Chelsea had more to say about that than Liverpool did.
“The goals are frustrating right the way across the board. Chelsea are such a good side that they are going to cause you problems, they are going to create chances, and that’s why we’re desperately disappointed that the goals we have conceded have come from our own downfall, whether that’s not getting into the correct position defensively, whether that’s not being brave enough on the tackle,” the manager said.
“Super-frustrating. If I look at the second half I felt we really started it well, we really unsettled them, but then we’re snatching at decisions where it just sort of kills us. As I say, we can’t defend the way we defended on the goals or turn the ball over like we did at certain moments today which led to the ball being in the back of our net.”
Obviously after a performance like this the only way to go is up, to learn from the mistakes, and its an assessment Beard certainly believes in. The Reds next face Manchester United Women in the Continental Cup again on Wednesday, and will need to pick themselves up and dust themselves off ahead of that match.
“We can’t let today define us. We need to learn from it. We need to obviously go through the goals, look at the clips, show the players the options they have when we debrief,” Beard added.
“But we’re not going to let today define all the hard work that we’ve done, so it’s about making sure we respond and react in the right way but then make sure we’re disciplined and make sure we do the right things going forward.”