The Liverpool FC Women came out of the blocks firing against Spurs this weekend. The Reds piled on the pressure from the opening whistle, and came close to opening the scoring on more than one occasion in the early going. Spurs managed to sneak a goal against the run of play, but Liverpool came roaring back for two goals of their own to close out the first half.
Liverpool manager Matt Beard was thrilled with how his team played, especially in the early going. He felt his side could have put things to bed earlier in the match, but was proud of the effort they put forth to keep the lead in the second half.
I thought we were excellent, especially in the first half. I thought we absolutely dominated it with and without the ball. We should have had the game sewn up at half-time. We had two really good chances to go in front, didn’t take them, and they had one opportunity and scored to go 1-0 up. But I thought we were excellent. It was a pressure game and I thought we showed a resilient side to us in that second half.
I thought Katie Stengel was outstanding leading the line and Rachael Laws, especially in the second half, was outstanding. Ceri Holland has just crawled up the stairs after the amount of work she put in out there. It was a good team performance and I’m delighted. It’s a big three points for us.
Beard also had plenty of praise for right wing back Emma Koivisto and midfielder Fuka Nagano. The manager revealed that Koivisto had been dealing with illness this past week, but you’d never know it from her performance.
Emma had flu symptoms on Tuesday but she is a warrior, she doesn’t stop running. She deserved that and I also felt we deserved a bit of luck as well, if I look at the goals we conceded at Arsenal the other night when two deflections fell to their players. So we deserved the luck on that goal. I thought Fuka was excellent for our second goal, just the way she slowed it down and played the pass to Emma. That was a great, well-worked goal for us.
Nagano continued her run of assured performances since joining in January, controlling the tempo of the match from no matter where she is on the pitch.
Robey said on the bus the other day that she [Nagano] is the best signing Liverpool FC Women have ever made. What she meant by that was her personality, because it is unbelievable. We are starting to see her come out of her shell a little bit. She is just a technician. Some of the things she does with the ball, she creates so much for us. She is a great person and a wonderful football player. She is only 24 and is only going to get better. It’s exciting for Liverpool.
Top round it all out, Beard made sure to call out the contributions of Gemma Bonner. The experienced center back filled the leadership void in the heart of the defense with Niamh Fahey and Jasmine Matthews out with injury, and Gilly Flaherty now retired.
Bonn has been brilliant. She was restricted to 45 minutes at Arsenal but she could play the full game for us. She is a leader and I know what I’m going to get from Gemma. I’ve worked with her for so long now. From her experience to some of the tackles she puts in, the way she organises and leads the team, she’s fantastic.