Last weekend wasn’t the shining moment in Liverpool Women’s season, that’s for sure. Suffering an away defeat to Manchester City will sting anyone, and include a four goal deficit, it certainly stings a bit more.
Captain Niamh Fahey is working her way back into the starting lineup after a lengthy injury spell kept her sidelined, and despite the disappointment of last weekend has her sights set on the future. That includes meeting Arsenal Women soon, too.
“Obviously we were very disappointed with last weekend. We were far from at our best but we have to get over it quick. It’s football and the good thing is we have a chance to redeem ourselves this weekend,” Fahey told the club website recently.
“It’s a tough test obviously against Arsenal but we’ve had setbacks in the past in this group and we’ve responded well, so we need to do the same again on Sunday.
“We’ve been excellent I think this year, especially defensively. Collectively we all have a responsibility but we were disappointed with the nature of the goals. It’s football, you can have an off-day, it happens, so the most important thing now is that we bounce back.”
Sometimes the best salve for this kind of burn is to just put your head down and get back to work, get back to practice, and Fahey insists that that is what is happening around Melwood. Especially as she herself gets back to match fitness and ready to take the pitch again.
“It’s about getting back to basics really, reminding ourselves what we’ve been good at this season because we are having a really good season, so it’s reminding ourselves what’s working for us and getting back to those principles,” the captain continued.
“We’ve had a good week training, so we are getting ready now and I think we are in a good place now ready to take on Arsenal on Sunday.”
All this to say that one major loss will not break their season. Liverpool are seven points better than they were at this stage last season, and have been able to beat the top teams like Arsenal and Manchester United earlier in the season. There is no doom and gloom around the squad when those facts are remembered, and when everyone works together.
“I think we’ve made another step this season, it’s been a project and we’ve taken big steps. Going away to Arsenal and winning, beating Manchester United away as well,” added Fahey.
“We’ve done really well. We’ve had one or two ups and downs recently, like Manchester City last week. And then a few points we felt we could have got more away from home, like Tottenham and West Ham, for example. So, we are improving all the time. There’s been good growth this year and we just need to continue to keep pushing forward.”
Fahey herself has been hard at work with not just the physical recuperation but the mental challenges that come with being sidelined with injury. While she has returned to fitness, the captain needs to prove herself capable just like every other player on the squad and earn her spot back.
“I’m good thankfully and hopefully my calf injuries are behind me,” said Fahey.
“It has been a very frustrating time for me personally but I’m in a good place now and have had a good couple of weeks training back with the group, so it’s nearly like a fresh start to the season for me now coming back in. So, I am enjoying my football again. I just have to be ready for whenever I’m needed.
“I’ve been used to starting week in, week out and obviously this season I’ve played a peripheral role looking on and my injuries haven’t helped with that as well. I’ve had to get used to it, it’s part of it but I’m just focused on what I can control and that’s being the best I can be in training and putting as much pressure on as I can on those playing in front of me and driving standards as well – that’s important.
“The more competitive it is, the better it pushes everybody and that’s just how I’ve kind of gone about it and that’s all I can continue to do. Be there for the team and prove myself and keep pushing hard.”
Hopefully playing in front of the home fans at Prenton Park for the first time in 2024 will do some heavy lifting after the disappointment of last weekend. Fahey specifically is looking forward to that opportunity.
“We’ve got our heads down this week. It was tough to take at Manchester City but we’ve regrouped, we’ve refocused and we are ready to put our best side out. With our fans behind us, like they always have been, getting behind us especially in our tougher times, they will give us that extra boost we need because it’s going to be a really tough game, but we will be ready.”