It has been a whirlwind week for Liverpool FC Women’s striker Shanice van de Sanden. The veteran speedster missed a midweek Continental Cup match with Manchester United to be present as her partner gave birth to their daughter back in the Netherlands. After spending a few days with her family, she returned to Liverpool on Friday to prepare for the match against Brighton. She was given the start up top and was the best player on the pitch for much of the match, scoring a goal in a big 4-0 win.
After the match, van de Sanden spoke about the hectic but joyful week and her excitement to return home to see her new daughter. She also touched on the her rock-the-baby goal celebration.
“It’s been crazy! I’m so, so happy. I can’t wait to see my baby girl again. My flight is tonight, and I can’t wait to just hold her in my arms again.”
“It’s a perfect day. Obviously the celebration is for my baby girl. I can’t be more happy than today.”
As for the match itself, van de Sanden felt the 4-0 win was the best outing thus far for the Reds. Of course, the big win comes just ahead of another international break, so keeping the momentum when they return will be key.
“I think we did really well. I think it was our best performance of the season so far, and we have to keep that up.”
“We all go to our national teams now, hopefully we come back fit and then focus on the next one.”
While it was Liverpool’s largest margin of victory on the season, van de Sanden felt the squad could have piled on even more goals. She also highlighted the quality across the board on the day, including a sensational cameo from Leanne Kiernan, who replaced van de Sanden in the second half.
“At half-time we said, ‘Girls, we are 2-0 up but it’s not finished yet, so we need to be ready in the second half.’ And I think as soon as we came out of that changing room we were all ready. Look at all the chances we created, it should be 5-0 or 6-0.”
“I am so proud that we won this game. I’m proud of everybody and everyone who came on as well. Leanne [Kiernan] was brilliant when she came on. We need to keep doing that, we have a great squad.”
As for the goal she scored, Shanice made sure to point out the assist from Sophie Roman Haug.
“I am so happy that she gave me that ball!” Van de Sanden said. “I was like, ‘Give me it now, I want to score!’ but she gave it at the right time. I’m happy to help the team.”
She also was thrilled to see her strike partner score a late goal after setting up the goals of van de Sanden and Ceri Holland.
“She really deserves it. I think she did great today – the whole team did – and I am very pleased for her because we need those goals and assists.”