The Liverpool FC Women have played just about half of their first half WSL fixtures, with Manchester City the only team yet to be faced in the league. With the team on its winter break, it seems to be a good time to take a look back and assess how the Reds have fared over the first round of fixtures.
Where Things Stand
Last season, Liverpool’s first back in the WSL after a stint in the FA Women’s Championship, it was all about survival for Matt Beard’s side. After finishing a surprising 7th in the table, Beard put out the lofty goal of finishing in one of the top 3 spots to qualify for Champions League play.
While it seemed at least a year too early for the Reds to truly make a push for a European place, Liverpool see themselves 5th in the table and just 4 points behind Manchester City and Arsenal in the 2nd and 3rd spots respectively.
Closing The Gap
Last season, Liverpool finished a very respectable 7th in the table with 23 points (1.05 pts/match), however they were 24 points off of 3rd place Arsenal. So far this season, the Reds have already collected 18 points (1.8 pts/match), including wins over Arsenal and Manchester United.
Awakening Away Form
Liverpool failed to win a single away match all of last season. This year they have away wins against Arsenal and Manchester United already.
Big Contributions From New Signings
Matt Beard has seen major contributions from pretty much all of his summer signings. On the defensive side end of the pitch, Jenna Clark and Grace Fisk have stepped right into starting roles in the back three that is tied for the third fewest goals allowed. Teagan Micah has overtaken Rachael Laws for the starting gloves in the last few matches before the winter break and has flashed some fantastic shot stopping ability.
Further up the pitch, Marie Höbinger has been a revelation in midfield, providing an exciting mix of skill on the ball, dead ball ability, and shooting range have seen her collect 3 goals and 2 assists already from midfield. Striker Sophie Roman Haug has matched those numbers despite missing the opening couple of matches with a broken nose.
Regaining Health In The Attack
Liverpool started the season with zero healthy strikers in the squad. Over the first half of the season, Matt Beard has seen the returns of key strikers Sophie Roman Haug, Melissa Lawley, Shanice van de Sanden, and Leanne Kiernan. This is the first time since the return to the WSL that Beard has had a full compliment of attackers to pull from to mix and match to meet the situation.
Thin In The Back
While Liverpool have seen a multitude of attackers return to health, they have seen the opposite in central defense. Niamh Fahey has been limited to just 4 minutes due to injuries, and Jasmine Matthews has also missed significant action. In the last match before the winter break, Gemma Bonner was forced off with a facial laceration and concussion that could see her out for a period of time as well.
Bottling It Against The Bottom
While Liverpool have fared better against mid and upper table sides this year, they have dropped points to bottom sides Bristol City and West Ham, drawing both matches. The West Ham match in particular is galling as the Reds thoroughly outplayed the Hammers but didn’t put the match to bed, and instead conceded in the 95th minute.
- Liverpool have already have 9 players score a goal this season, with 10 players providing assists. Only 8 players tallied goals last year, with just 7 assisting goals.
- Marie Höbinger currently ranks second in the WSL with 5.76 Shot Creating Actions per 90 minutes.
- Sophie Roman Haug has won more aerial duals (48) than anyone else in the WSL. Gemma Bonner and Jenna Clark rank 4th and 5th for aerial duals won respectively.
- Fuka Nagano ranks 2nd for ball recoveries in the WSL with 90.