Unlike during the regular season, there certainly are moral victories during preseason play. The Liverpool FC Women dominated long stretches of the preseason friendly against PSG in the AMOS Cup, and were the better team for much of the second half. The teams ended regulation knotted at 1-1, however, and PSG advanced over the Reds on penalty kicks.
For manager Matt Beard, seeing his squad put together such a cohesive performance against a quality opponent in just Liverpool’s second preseason friendly was great to see. For him, the result was secondary to seeing the player comfortably executing the tactics and patterns of play they had been training.
It’s only our second game in pre-season, so we’re pleased with a lot of things that we’ve been working on in training for it to come off. I felt we were really good for 30 minutes in the second half. It’s obviously disappointing to lose the game on penalties but when it comes to penalties, it’s obviously a lottery. But I was pleased with a lot of stuff that we did today. We can take a lot of confidence, a lot of learning up against a very good side tactically into the rest of our pre-season.
Liverpool will get a crack at another international opponent in the AMOS Cup third place match on Thursday when the Reds take on Atletico Madrid. Beard spoke about the need to rotate the squad for this match to balance the recovery and preseason training sessions.
We need to rotate because we’ve only played one game [before the PSG meeting] this pre-season, so we need to rotate. We had planned minutes for players tonight. This really is about developing what we’ve been working on in training. It’s about getting everyone physically fit and then at the end of the tournament we’ve got three more games before our season starts. So, we’ll use these games to obviously learn against European opposition, which I think is going to be key for us. But we’ll rotate the team on Thursday.
Beard is also excited for his squad to get minutes against a different style of play than they are used to. While PSG play in a similar style to some of the top WSL sides, Atletico Madrid will present a some different tactical wrinkles for his side to work out.
I think the top teams are very similar in the way that they play. If you look at Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, they play very similar to PSG. Atletico will be slightly different. What I meant with the answer with playing against European opposition, obviously we haven’t done that for a while. For us just to play against different teams, different players with different personalities, different cultures, it’s good learning for us. It’ll be different on Thursday than it was [against PSG].