Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Everton Ladies

 “We go again” has become something of a Liverpool Football Club mantra over the last couple of weeks. This week it most certainly applies to Liverpool Ladies as they prepare to face Everton Ladies on Wednesday night, just days after being knocked out of The FA Cup by their Merseyside rivals.

 Despite a spirited second half comeback from Liverpool, who were without 6 first team players through injury, Everton held on for their first derby win in over a year.

 In his programme notes before the game, Matt Beard mentioned that the injury Libby Stout picked up at Chelsea will keep her out for a week or two. Kate Longhurst also required a scan following the Chelsea game and it is unclear whether these players alongside Martha Harris will be back for Liverpool’s opening Continental Cup group game.

 There were a number of positives Liverpool can take from the game, most notably including the performance of several development squad players. Claudia Walker, Megan Alexander and Ellie Stewart all made their first-team débuts coming on at 2-0 down, Stewart joined Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner at the back as Liverpool switched to a more attacking formation.

 Alexander came on to play on the left, comfortable playing either at left-back or higher up the pitch, while Walker came on and immediately added to the Liverpool attack creating chances for herself and helping back in defence.

 Everton’s Nikita Parris looked lively throughout the 90 minutes, although as Everton defended their lead in the second half the new Everton number 9 found herself isolated up front and was dealt with effectively by the Liverpool defence.

 Everton duo Alex Greenwood and Gabby George also stood out, Greenwood grabbing the second blues goal and George standing strong in defence against the Liverpool assault in the second-half.

 Liverpool may now be out of The FA Cup, but they will be even more determined to progress further in the Continental Cup starting on Wednesday evening with Everton and then Saturday night when Sunderland Ladies will come to Widnes.

 The derby is on Wednesday 30th April, 6:30pm kick off. Entry to all cup games is free of charge for all Liverpool season ticket holders, otherwise it is just £5 adults and £2.50 concessions on the turnstiles.

 A couple of things to finish off, first of all a massive congratulations to Liverpool development squad who beat Aston Villa 3-1 away on Sunday afternoon to progress to the development cup final.

 Gemma Jackson, Olivia Wild, Ellie Stewart, Sophia Riccio, Megan Alexander, Mollie Green, Emilie Revitt, Grace Vella, Hannah Dale, Beth Donoghue and Claudia Walker all starred as the team came from behind to win. Becca Hillman and Eve Kennerley were second-half substitutes.

 After falling a goal behind Claudia Walker scored the reds equaliser, after playing the night before for the first-team alongside Stewart and Alexander, Beth Donoghue put the reds in front before Hannah Dale completed the scoring from the penalty spot. As soon as details are announced for the final, to be played against Arsenal Ladies, I will put them on twitter and I am hoping to be able to get to the final myself!

 Finally the PFA awards took place in London on Sunday night, with Liverpool Ladies dominating the women’s awards.

 First of all no less than SEVEN current Liverpool stars were named in the PFA WSL Team of the Year, with Lucy Bronze, Gemma Bonner, Martha Harris, Fara Williams, Nicole Rolser, Gemma Davison and Natasha Dowie all in the best of XI.

 Next up Martha Harris picked up the inaugural Young Player of the Year award before Lucy Bronze was named PFA Player of the Year. Huge congratulations to all!

Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 0 – 2 Everton Ladies

 Earlier this evening Liverpool Ladies were knocked out of The FA Cup, suffering a 2-0 home defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton Ladies.

 Many had tipped Everton as relegation favourites this season having lost two key players during the transfer window, however they still boast a talented young squad and attacked Liverpool from the starting whistle to immediately put the reds on the back foot.

 Liverpool’s injury list grows longer by the week; Libby Stout, Martha Harris and Kate Longhurst joining Katie Zelem, Lucy Staniforth and Nicole Rolser on the sidelines, along with Louise Fors out on loan that makes Liverpool 7 first team players down.

 Everton took an early lead when Nikita Parris beat Gemma Bonner to race into the 18-yard box, Parris’ goal is the first Liverpool have conceded this season so far.

 Amanda Da Costa went closest to getting Liverpool an equaliser, Fara Williams with a brilliant low ball but Da Costa’s strike went inches wide. Da Costa was involved again moments later, beating a couple of blue shirts on a mazy run into the box before squaring the ball to Gemma Davison who was fouled on the edge of the box.

 Fara Williams took the free kick, in almost the exact same position from the one she scored again Chelsea last season. Unfortunately the ball swung in low at the near post and went out for a goal kick.

 Nikita Parris was by far Everton’s best player on the pitch, a constant menace for Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze to deal with.

 Everton’s lead was doubled when Alex Greenwood headed past Danielle Gibbons, an Everton corner was cleared only to be put straight back into the 6-yard box for the recent England débutante to score.

 In the second half Liverpool came out fighting, Gemma Davison in particular a stand out once again in the Liverpool attack. Alex Greenwood standing strong against the Liverpool winger and constantly forcing her out wide.

 Claudia Walker made her first-team début replacing development squad strike partner Ashley Hodson. Once on the pitch and despite being thrown in at the deep end Walker did not look out of place, having the confidence to shoot from distance – which blues keeper Rachel Brown did well to keep hold of – and also tracking back to defend and kickstart another Liverpool attack.

 The final 10 minutes became frantic as Liverpool searched for an opening, Ellie Stewart and Megan Alexander replaced Becky Easton and Corina Schroder. Stewart joining Bronze and Bonner at the back with Alexander going to left wing to aid the Liverpool attack.

Claudia Walker impressed on her first team début 

 In the closing minutes Lucy Bronze made an excellent run forward from centre-back into the 18-yard box, winning a corner for Liverpool which Everton again defended well and cleared.

 POTM: Gemma Bonner. A captain’s performance tonight, driving the team on and pushing high up the pitch during a frantic final 10 minutes.

 Liverpool: Gibbons, Easton (Alexander), Bonner (C), Bronze, Schroder (Stewart), Williams, Katrin, Da Costa, Davison, Hodson (Walker), Dowie

 Unused subs: Jackson, Dale

 It is of course disappointing to be knocked out of The FA Cup and not to reach the semi-finals as we did last year, Liverpool threw everything they had at Everton during the second half and were unlucky not to come away with at least a goal for their efforts.

 Credit of course must go to Everton, a brilliant performance from the blues and deservedly into the next round – good luck to them!

 Next up for Liverpool it’s Everton again, this time in the Continental Cup on Wednesday 30th April. Liverpool will be out looking for revenge in this cup tie which kicks off at 6:30pm.

 ***Any Liverpool supporters who have already purchased tickets for The FA Cup Final please remember our Under 17s will also play at MK Dons that day, their FA Youth Cup Final will kick off at 1pm. If you’re headed down south get into the ground early to support the girls!***

 Thanks for reading,


Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Everton Ladies

 The first Merseyside derby of the 2014 season sees Liverpool Ladies host Everton Ladies in The FA Cup Quarter-Final. Liverpool reached the semi-finals of last years competition and this year are hoping to progress even further in the cups.

 So far this season Liverpool have played 3 competitive matches, winning 2 and drawing 1, scoring 3 and conceding 0. In their opening 3 games last season the reds had conceded twice, Libby Stout appears to be the biggest difference at the back for Liverpool. Stout commands her box well and never shirks away from a challenge – even if it means, as last Sunday, colliding with the attacker.

Natasha Dowie vs Chelsea

 Last Sunday Liverpool Ladies were away at Chelsea, Libby Stout‘s aforementioned collision with Yuki Ogimi forcing a substitution in the second half with the more than capable Danielle Gibbons replacing her. Gibbons had been one of the stand-out performers for the development squad over the winter break, alongside Ashley Hodson who also got her chance in the first team against Chelsea – coming on in the first half to replace the injured Kate Longhurst.

 Natasha Dowie is once again the reds top scorer, with 2 goals to her name – a tap-in away at Sunderland and a fine finish at home against Manchester City in the league opener. The reds striker also scored 3 in 4 pre-season appearances, giving a strike rate of 5 goals in 7 games in 2014 and picking up exactly where she left off last season.  

 Gemma Davison is also proving to be an inspired signing for the reds, working well in midfield alongside Amanda DaCosta in creating chances both for herself and for others. Davison hit the post in a dominating opening spell for Liverpool against Chelsea last weekend. Fara Williams and Katrin Omarsdottir also continue to develop their midfield partnership, both sit a little deeper than the attacking front four but being a crucial part to Liverpool’s attack.

 In defence Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner are the preferred centre back pairing, with confident solid displays against both Manchester City and Chelsea. Tough tackling Becky Easton has started 2 games out of 3 at right-back, while attacking left-back Corina Schroder has also picked up where she left off last season pressing high up the pitch.

Corina Schroder scores vs Everton

 Corina Schroder scored her first and only Liverpool goal in the 4-1 win away at Everton last season, the German defender also played a big role in the return fixture with a perfect cross into the box for Dowie to get on the end of and put the reds in front.

 Between the 2012 and 2013 season Everton lost 4 of their best players to the red half of Merseyside, with Natasha Dowie, Fara Williams, Becky Easton and Lucy Bronze all making the switch. Following the end of the 2013 campaign, captain Jill Scott and star striker Toni Duggan also departed for WSL newcomers Manchester City.

 That said, Everton are still left with a predominantly young but talented squad. Nikita Parris scored a wonder goal in the derby last September and will likely lead the blues attack on Saturday evening. New captain Michelle Hinnigan grabbed herself a goal in the last round of The FA Cup away at Cardiff, while ex-Liverpool duo Kelly and Vicky Jones also remain at Everton.

Everton captain Michelle Hinnigan

 The winner of this tie will face an away trip to either Notts County or Portsmouth for the semi-final on Sunday 11th May.

 The game has been moved to Saturday evening, kicking off at 7pm at the Select Stadium, Widnes.

 Entry is priced at £5 adults, £2.50 concessions. If you are a Liverpool Ladies season ticket holder, season tickets also cover entry to all home cup games.

 Thanks for reading!


Match Report: Chelsea Ladies 0 – 0 Liverpool Ladies

 Liverpool Ladies13-match winning streak came to an end with a 0-0 draw away at Chelsea Ladiesthis afternoon.
 Two changes from the midweek team that beat Manchester City, Becky Easton coming in for Martha Harris at right-back and development squad talent Megan Alexander getting a spot amongst the substitutes.
Liverpool warming up pre-match
 503 spectators watched arguably the league’s best two sides go head-to-head, with Liverpool dominating the first half and in particular the opening 15 minutes and Chelsea dominating throughout the second half.
 Liverpool were quick out the blocks, fast to gain possession and looking to attack – the first chance of the game coming after Kate Longhurst was fouled on the half-way line, Fara Williams spotting Gemma Davison free on the right wing and taking a quick free kick. Davison took off down the wing and shot but her effort bounced back off the post, the rebound was just behind Natasha Dowie.
 An already injury-struck Liverpool lost Kate Longhurst midway through the first half, Ashley Hodson replacing her and immediately finding herself thrown into the action and linking up well with Natasha Dowie throughout the 90 minutes.
 In the second half Liverpool were also forced into a second change, Yuki Ogimi kicking keeper Libby Stout in the face meaning Danielle Gibbons came on to take her place. Hopefully for Liverpool both these players will be fit for the derby next Saturday.
 Chelsea’s front three of Yuki Ogimi, Eni Aluko and Ji So-Yun were lively over the course of the game, each committing to a fast paced attacking style with So-Yun in particular impressing for the blues. Liverpool perhaps received a let-off in the final minutes of the game; So-Yun appeared to be caught by a Liverpool defender in the box however instead of giving a penalty the referee gave her a second yellow card.
 Both defences put in impressive displays, Gilly Flaherty keeping Natasha Dowie relatively quiet and limiting her chances. Becky Easton had a good game at right-back standing strong and coping well with the free-flowing attacking movement from Chelsea, while Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner’s centre back partnership continues to grow.
 Picking out a player of the match for this game was tough; it could have gone to any of Davison, Bronze, Bonner or Easton. Lucy Bronze just comes out on top with a number of crucial interceptions to help keep Liverpool’s 3rd clean sheet out of 3 in competitive action this season.
 LFC: Stout (Gibbons), Easton, Bonner (C), Bronze, Schroder (Harris), Omarsdottir, Williams, Davison, DaCosta, Longhurst (Hodson), Dowie
 Unused subs: Dale, Stewart, Alexander
Women’s Super League table as of 20/04/14
 Few things to finish off with; first I want to say a massive thank you to Andy, Yvonne & Macy for giving myself and my friend a lift back from Staines! Our train was due to get into Liverpool for ten to 12 so we were both very grateful for their offer and to be home before 9 o’clock!
 Liverpool Ladies development squad fell to a 3-1 win away against Birmingham City, meaning they have lost their last two league games in a row. They have in recent weeks lent many of their regular players to the first team squad which could be having an impact, although they still have plenty of quality throughout with names such as Olivia Wild, Bethany Donoghue and Claudia Walker. Next Sunday they travel to Aston Villa for their cup semi-final.
 Finally yesterday I went to the Birmingham – Tyreso Champions League semi-final, despite the result it was a great day out and fantastic to see players like Caroline Seger and Meghan Klingenberg play. Former red Whitney Engen also turned out for the Swedish side and it was brilliant to see her play again before she heads off to play for Houston Dash in the NWSL!
 Thanks for reading, next up for Liverpool it’s Everton Ladies in the FA Cup Quarter Final. This game has been moved to Saturday 26th April, 7pm kick off at Select Stadium, match preview will be up Thursday evening!

MATCH PREVIEW: Chelsea Ladies v Liverpool Ladies

 This Sunday Liverpool Ladies travel to Staines to face Chelsea Ladies in their first away game of the WSL season. Midweek Liverpool and Chelsea were the only two teams to take all 3 points, making this an early top of the table clash.
 On Thursday evening Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run to 13 games against a determined Manchester City side. Kate Longhurst gave the reds the lead but the goal was disallowed after the referee deemed Longhurst had handled the ball in the build-up.
 It was Natasha Dowie who finally broke the deadlock in front of the 1,500 strong crowd, Lucy Bronze with great vision to pick out the strikers run and Dowie with a brilliant finish past the blues keeper.
Natasha Dowie celebrates her goal with Gemma Davison
 Amanda DaCosta returned to the starting line-up after missing out last Sunday in The FA Cup, with Martha Harris switching to right-back and Corina Schroder at left-back. Schroder had another great attacking game on the left wing, linking well with Gemma Davison who also impressed with her incredible pace. 
 Liverpool’s defence put in a solid shift, Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze effectively dealing with anything sent their way and goalkeeper Libby Stout with an outstanding performance between the posts in her league debut.
 In midfield Katrin Omarsdottir and Fara Williams held their own, the latter having a massive influence on the reds attacking movement in the first half. An early free kick from Williams was sent narrowly wide by Lucy Bronze.
Liverpool’s No. 1 Libby Stout
 On the same evening Chelsea Ladies beat Bristol Academy 2-0, both goals scored by Japanese World Cup winner Yuki Ogimi. The same two teams also faced each other in The FA Cup last weekend, new signing from Birmingham City Rachel Williams with the winning goal in that tie.
 Like Manchester City, Chelsea have strengthened their squad since the end of the 2013 season. Despite losing keeper Carly Telford, the blues have signed 8 new players including Arsenal duo Gilly Flaherty and Katie Chapman and attacking Dutch midfielder Jackie Groenen.
 Manchester City were a huge test for Liverpool midweek, Chelsea will be another just 3 days later. Liverpool’s squad has coped well despite losing Katie Zelem, Lucy Staniforth and Nicole Rolser through injury, with youth players more than capable of stepping up – 18-year old midfielder Hannah Dale made her league debut on Thursday night.
Liverpool Ladies development squad

 A couple of things to finish off, this weekend the development squad are away at Birmingham City on Sunday. The girls will be looking to bounce back from a tough 4-2 loss to Notts County last weekend.
 Today the PFA nominations were announced; Natasha Dowie, Lucy Bronze and Nicole Rolser have all been nominated for the prestigious Players’ Player of the Year, Bronze has also been nominated for Young Player of the Year alongside Martha Harris. Massive congratulations to all 4 players, the winners will be announced Sunday 27th April. Full nominations can be found here.
 Finally I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who follows and reads my blogs on Liverpool Ladies, when I started the twitter account 12 months ago I never imagined it would grow to be this big!
 The Chelsea game is not on television so for live updates please follow the official @LFCladies twitter or you can follow my tweets on the game from @LFCladiesfans as there are a few of us headed to Staines!

Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Manchester City Women

 Tomorrow Liverpool Ladies will begin the defence of their 2013 Women’s Super League title. The reigning champions will play host to WSL newcomers Manchester City in a tie that will be shown live on BT Sport. Kick-off is at 7:45pm at Select Stadium in Widnes, tickets are available on the gate and are priced £5 adults, £2.50 concessions.
Liverpool celebrate vs Sunderland
 Liverpool go into this game unbeaten in all competitions for their last 12 games, winning every one. In 2014 so far the reds have won 5 out of 5, despite being faced with a number of key players missing through injury – showing the strength in depth. Four youth players have made the step up to the first team although Katie Zelem will miss the first half of the season with a broken collarbone, Ashley Hodson, Hannah Dale and Ellie Stewart all made second half appearances at the weekend. The trio did not look out of place with Dale in particular impressing and Hodson having a goal ruled out for offside.
 Amanda DaCosta picked up a knock during the warm ups at the FA Cup game in Sunderland on Sunday and did not play, hopefully just as a precaution. In her absence Martha Harris moved into midfield, working well alongside Kate Longhurst and Gemma Davison in creating opportunities going forward. 
 Harris opened the scoring after Longhurst beat the defender to put a low ball into the box, Liverpool’s new signing finishing with a great left-footed strike that swung past keeper Rachael Laws.
Fara Williams vs Sunderland
 On the stroke of half-time Sunderland must have thought they had an equaliser when a long range effort headed towards the top corner, Libby Stout somehow getting there and making the brilliant save on her competitive debut for the club.
 Natasha Dowie had scored 3 goals in 4 appearances during pre-season and scored Liverpool’s second to ensure the reds progress to the quarter finals, tapping home from inside the 6-yard box when Gemma Davison‘s shot was saved.
 A new season also brings a new centre back pairing to Liverpool, Lucy Bronze moving into the middle to partner captain Gemma Bonner and the pair put in a solid display together. 
former Liverpool midfielder Jess Holbrook
 Liverpool’s opponents Manchester City have strengthened considerably since their promotion to the top tier of English women’s football. Signing the backbone of the England team with goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, defender and captain Steph Houghton and Everton Ladies duo Jill Scott and Toni Duggan. Jess Holbrook, the former Liverpool Ladies midfielder, has also signed up alongside New Zealand international Betsy Hassett. Bardsley however will miss the season opener through injury.
 City have also begun full-time training, however unlike Liverpool this does not include the whole squad with just a handful of players currently training full-time. They have played 3 games so far in 2014, winning all 3 beating Durham, Aston Villa and Reading.
Liverpool & Sunderland observe a minutes silence prior to their FA Cup tie
 Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, the Liverpool Ladies squad attended the memorial at Anfield where speeches were given from Brendan Rodgers, Roberto Martinez, Andy Burnham, Trevor Hicks and Margaret Aspinall. As a Liverpool supporter growing up in the city, the 96 are never far from your mind. The dignity and strength that the families and survivors have shown over the years are a great inspiration. As on Sunday, the team will wear the Hillsborough patch on their shirts in remembrance of those who lost their lives.
 Thank you for reading,

Match Report: Sunderland Ladies 0 – 2 Liverpool Ladies

 Liverpool Ladiescontinued their unbeaten run with an FA Cup 5th round victory away at Sunderland Ladies this afternoon. The reds have won 5 out of 5 in 2014 so far and their last 12 games in all competitions since August 2013.
 With Lucy Staniforth, Nicole Rolser and Katie Zelem already ruled out with long term injuries, the bench featured both Hannah Dale and Ashley Hodson from the development squad alongside Ellie Stewart, Danielle Gibbons and Corina Schroder. Unfortunately for Liverpool Amanda DaCosta picked up an injury during the warms up and was unable to play, leaving on crutches – the only low point of the afternoon.
 Corina Schroder took her place in the starting line-up, with Martha Harris moving from left back into midfield. Harris more than impressed on her first competitive start for the club, tough to mark moving across the midfield and switching flanks with fellow new recruit Gemma Davison.
 A third new signing goalkeeper Libby Stout also made her competitive debut, commanding her box and the defence well and making a fantastic save on the stroke of half-time – stretching to tip a shot over the bar.
 Liverpool enjoyed the majority of possession, testing former keeper Rachael Laws who made a number of saves throughout the 90 minutes. Laws was a vocal presence at the back for the black cats and was one of their best players on the pitch.
 After many attempts, Fara Williams going closest with a couple of long range shots, it was Martha Harris who broke the deadlock. Minutes after almost scoring herself Kate Longhurst did brilliantly on the right to get the ball into the box to Harris, who put the ball into the back of the net with a great left footed finish.
 Longhurst had a great game playing just behind Natasha Dowie, showing her skills on the ball with a number of fancy turns!
 Minutes after half-time came Sunderland’s best chance, Libby Stout came out of her box but was unable to clear and the Sunderland player attempted a shot on goal – luckily for Liverpool, Becky Easton got back to cover and headed away.
 Natasha Dowie picked up where she left off last season, 19 goals in 21 appearances in 2013 and 3 in 4 during pre-season, Liverpool’s top scorer finished from just yards out when Sunderland failed to clear the ball from Longhurst and then Davison’s strike.
 2-0 up Liverpool took control of the game, Corina Schroder pushing high up the pitch as the reds went in search of a 3rd. Schroder herself shooting wide after making a great run into the box.
 Liverpool 3 youth players on the bench were each given their competitive debuts, Hannah Dale the first of the trio to take to the pitch and not looking out of place. Immediately Dale linked up with Natasha Dowie but her cross was unable to get to Harris, then moments later her chip to Dowie was almost returned to her by the striker but cut out by the defence.
 Ashley Hodson then replaced Martha Harris and scored just minutes after coming on, unlucky for her as the goal was disallowed for offside. The final development squad graduate to enter the fray was Ellie Stewart, who has impressed throughout pre-season. Stewart was a late substitution replacing Becky Easton to partner Gemma Bonnerat centre back with Lucy Bronze moving out the right back.
 The reds defence was solid throughout, though rarely troubled they dealt with anything sent their way with Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze forming a formidable partnership in the centre.
 Overall a good performance from Liverpool, with so many players missing out through injury and missing two key players from last season – Nicole Rolser and Louise Fors. Liverpool are into the quarter finals with the draw to be made this week.
 POTM: Martha Harris
 Team: Stout, Easton (Stewart), Bonner (C), Bronze, Schroder, Williams, Omarsdottir, Davison, Harris (Hodson), Longhurst (Dale), Dowie
 Next up we begin our title defence! On Thursday Manchester City will come to Widnes in a game that will be televised live on BT Sport at 6:30pm. I will have the match preview for this game up on Wednesday morning.
 Thanks for reading!


MATCH PREVIEW: 1st Team & Dev. Squad both face Sunderland on Sunday

 This Sunday both thefirst team and the development squad will face Sunderland Ladies, so whether you’re travelling to Sunderland for the first teams FA Cup tie or you’re back in Liverpool there’s a chance to see Liverpool Ladies play this weekend.
 First up Liverpool Ladies first team will travel to Hetton le Hole to play Sunderland in a repeat of last year’s FA Cup Quarter Final. Last March Liverpool took the lead throughLillie Fenlon-Billson before Sunderland drew level; Katrin Omarsdottir ensured the reds progressed to the Semi Final with the winning goal minutes from time.
Liverpool Ladies 2014
 Liverpool have faced Sunderland already in 2014, their first match since winning the WSL was a 2-0 victory over the black cats at the Hetton Centre with Natasha Dowie and Amanda DaCostaboth on the scoresheet.
 Since then Liverpool have played 3 pre-seasons friendlies, first beating Doncaster 1-0 at home thanks to a late Ellie Stewart header and then coming from behind to beat Aston Villa with an own goal and Katrin Omarsdottir. The reds final pre-season gamewas behind-closed-doors as they faced former keeper Sarah Quantrill and her new club Millwall Lionesses, goals from Natasha Dowie (2), Fara Williams and Martha Harris ensured Liverpool go into the 2014 season unbeaten in all competitions in their last 11 games.
Liverpool’s title winning keeper Rachael Laws

 Liverpool will face another former keeper on Sunday with Rachael Laws back at Sunderland following her loan spell in Widnes last season, Sunderland also boast young England U19s striker Beth Mead amongst their ranks. Mead scored earlier this week for England as they secured their qualification for the European Championships, playing alongside Liverpool’s Ellie Stewart and Katie Zelem with Zelem bagging herself a brace in the 5-0 win over Finland. *Update: Tonight Liverpool announced Zelem will be out of action for 6-8 weeks after sustaining a broken collarbone on international duty*
 The game will kick off at 2:07pm (in honour of the 96), Hetton Centre, Park View, Hetton le Hole, DH5 9NE. If you are planning on travelling to the North East get in touch as there are a number of reds making the trip!
 Next up the development squad will welcome Sunderland’s dev. squad to Select Stadium, Widnes as they look to make it 3 league wins in a row. The game is down for a 2pm kick off on the FA website however this could also be 2:07pm.
 A number of development squad players have featured for the first team throughout pre-season, a testament to the quality of the players and the coaching staff. Danielle Gibbons, Katie Zelem and Ellie Stewart have been regulars while Ashley Hodson, Hannah Dale and Bethany Donoghue have also been rewarded for their performances in the youth league by being named in the first team squad for the upcoming WSL season.
Ellie Stewart & Katie Zelem
 Following last weekends 3-0 win over Notts County, the dev. squad find themselves just a point from the top of the table with 2 games in hand over leaders Manchester City and have won 3 of their last 4 league games with 10 goals scored, 0 conceded.
 Liverpool are the second highest scoring club in the league, 4 goals behind rivals Everton with 28 goals scored. 10 goals have come from Ashley Hodson and Claudia Walker who have 5 each, the other 18 goals shared between the rest of the squad much like the first team last season. Katie Zelem had 4 goals in 8 appearances before her promotion, Beth Donoghue 3 goals in 13 while Eve Kennerley has scored in each of her last 2 games. Centre back Shannon Beckwith has also scored twice throughout the season while attacking right back Olivia Wild scored her first Liverpool goal in the 5-0 win over Doncaster Belles.
Hannah Dale
 The one to watch this Sunday, if she hasn’t travelled with the first team, will be midfielder Hannah Dale who has grown in confidence throughout the season and is a promising prospect for Liverpool Ladies. Dale has 2 goals in 13 appearances and was unlucky not to have a 3rd with a great free kick against Doncaster Belles in the 0-0 draw earlier this year crashing off the crossbar.
 I have 3 match reports from development squad games this season on the blog, you can find those links below. Also follow this link for all first team and reserves squad numbers.
 Thanks for reading!

Liverpool Ladies on LFCTV!

 Yesterday on Liverpool’s LFCTV, Lynsey Hooper presented the first ever LFC Ladies Show on the channel and later hosted Thursday Night Live where manager Matt Beard was a guest.

 The LFC Ladies Show will be shown monthly with the next show on Thursday 24th April at 5:15pm, more information can be found here and I will have some key quotes up from the show over the next couple of days! A repeat of the preview show will be shown today (Friday 11th April) at 5:15pm and you can check out a brilliant clip from the programme here: Get ready for the new LFC Ladies 2014 WSL Season.

 Also below you can find the full Matt Beard interview from Thursday Night Live.

 Matt Beard on Thursday Night Live

 On Liverpool Ladies’ turnaround:
 It was a good achievement, we always knew quietly behind the scenes that we had built a talented squad but because there is only 14 league games it was surprising how quickly they gelled and the mentality of the group was fantastic.
 On moving from managing Chelsea in London to Liverpool: 
 The family have really settled, we’ve been up here since August 2012 now. I’m enjoying my job this year and the challenge coming up.

 On facing Sunderland in The FA Cup:

 It is going to be a tough game, they’ve won the division below for the last few years and they’ve got some young international players as well. We played them in pre-season and managed to beat them 2-0 so we know a little bit about them and we drew them in the Cup last year as well. It will be a tough game as it’s our first competitive one but the whole group are looking forward to getting started now.

 On Liverpool Ladies’ 2014 squad:

 We have brought in 4 signings in the close season, unfortunately we’ve had two long-term injuries – one of the new signings Lucy Staniforth and Nicole Rolser are both out for the season. A massive blow after the way Rolser performed last season but as a whole we’re strong, I’m confident we’ll be able to compete and it’s going to be a tough year this year; a lot of teams have strengthened and it is probably going to be the most competitive women’s super league ever.

 On Champions League football:

 That will start during September when the domestic season finishes. It’s something we’re looking forward to, to test ourselves against the best teams in Europe.

 As always, thanks for reading! Please check out the first part of my 2014 season preview on the official website here, my match preview for the Sunderland game will be online Friday evening & if there are any supporters travelling to this game please get in touch as there are a number of Liverpool supporters – including myself – heading to the North East for this cup tie!