Liverpool Ladies: Season Review 2014

Welcome to LFC Ladies Fans Season Review! Results, analysis, stats and opinions abound.
Including: Fixtures & Results, Attendances & Goals, WSL, The FA Cup, Continental Cup, Champions League, End of Season Awards and Development Squad.
Liverpool Ladies Fixtures & Results
13/04/14 (a) Sunderland Ladies     W 2-0    The FA Cup   attendance 308
17/04/14 (h) Manchester City     W 1-0    WSL   attendance 1572
20/04/14 (a) Chelsea Ladies     D 0-0    WSL   attendance 503
26/04/14 (h) Everton Ladies     L 2-0    The FA Cup   attendance 824
30/04/14 (h) Everton Ladies     D 0-0    Continental Cup   attendance 770
03/05/14 (h) Sunderland Ladies     W 6-0    Continental Cup   attendance 403
14/05/14 (a) Manchester City     L 2-1     Continental Cup   attendance 746
18/05/14 (a) Notts County Ladies     D 0-0    WSL   attendance 1071
24/05/14 (h) Birmingham City     D 1-1    WSL   attendance 477   
29/06/14 (h) Arsenal Ladies     L 1-0    WSL   attendance 852
06/07/14 (a) Durham Women     W 7-1    Continental Cup   attendance 339
12/07/14 (h) Doncaster Belles     W 3-2    Continental Cup   attendance 402
16/07/14 (h) Everton Ladies     W 1-0    WSL   attendance 719
19/07/14 (a) Bristol Academy     W 3-1    WSL   attendance 1215
27/07/14 (a) Manchester City     L 1-0    WSL   attendance 920
09/08/14 (h) Chelsea Ladies     W 2-0    WSL   attendance 568
24/08/14 (h) Notts County Ladies     W 1-0    WSL   attendance 456
04/09/14 (a) Everton Ladies     D 2-2   WSL   attendance 921
21/09/14 (a) Birmingham City     W 2-1    WSL   attendance 638
05/10/14 (a) Arsenal Ladies     D 3-3    WSL   attendance 808
08/10/14 (h) Linkopings FC     W 2-1    Champions League   attendance 627
12/10/14 (h) Bristol Academy     W 3-0    WSL   attendance 534     
16/10/14 (a) Linkopings FC     L 0-3    Champions League   attendance 1360 – Match Report coming soon

Click the team name above to read the match report from each game.

W 12 / D 6 / L 3

Total attendances: 17,033

Average attendance: 741
Average home attendance: 684  (740 for WSL games)
Liverpool Goal Scorers 

Natasha Dowie   13   vs Sunderland Ladies x 4, Manchester City x 2, Durham WFC x 2, Doncaster Belles x 2, Everton Ladies, Linkopings FC & Bristol Academy.
Gemma Davison   7   vs Sunderland Ladies, Durham WFC x 2, Bristol Academy, Chelsea Ladies, Arsenal Ladies & Linkopings FC.
Fara Williams   4   vs Birmingham City x 2, Arsenal Ladies & Bristol Academy.
Katie Zelem   3   vs Durham WFC x 2, Notts County Ladies.
Kate Longhurst   2   vs Everton Ladies x 2.
Gemma Bonner    vs Durham WFC, Bristol Academy.
Katrin Omarsdottir   2   vs Sunderland Ladies, Bristol Academy.
Lucy Bronze   2   vs Chelsea Ladies, Bristol Academy.
Amanda Da Costa   2   vs Doncaster Belles, Birmingham City.
Martha Harris   1   vs Sunderland Ladies.
Corina Schroder   1   vs Sunderland Ladies.
Nicole Rolser   1   vs Arsenal Ladies.

Clean sheets: During a season in which Liverpool’s defence was their most valuable asset, no.1 Libby Stout kept 9 clean sheets in 18 appearances. Danielle Gibbons made 5 appearances, keeping 3 clean sheets.

Women’s Super League
 W 7 / D 5 / L 2
 Liverpool Ladies began their title defence with a 1-0 home victory over league newcomers Manchester City on Thursday 17th April. Attacking from the opening whistle, Kate Longhurst opened the scoring after closing down Andie Worrall in the first-half however the referee controversially ruled the goal out for handball.
 Following this Liverpool lost their composure slightly, allowing Manchester City into the game a bit more while still maintaining control with the majority of the possession. New number 1 Libby Stout produced a fantastic performance between the posts, saving well from Toni Duggan twice in the second-half.
 Well into the second-half last season’s WSL Golden Boot winner Natasha Dowie opened her league account for 2014 with a well-taken goal, Lucy Bronze picking her out with a great ball forward from centre-back.

 Four days later on Sunday 20th April came Liverpool’s first away league game of the campaign, against an impressive Chelsea Ladies side that boasted an intimidating front three of Ji So-Yun, Yuki Ogimi and Eni Aluko.
 Ashley Hodson did well for Liverpool after replacing Kate Longhurst midway through the first-half due to injury, the development squad striker linking well with Natasha Dowie.
 A second forced substitution seen Danielle Gibbons replace Libby Stout in goal, Gibbons made a couple of important saves just before a late scare when Aluko sent her strike wide of the post after going through on goal; the game finishing 0-0.
 Liverpool then had to wait almost a month for their next league game, Notts County away on Sunday 18th May coming after four cup games and an international break.
 Despite scoring 7 in their last two games Liverpool couldn’t break Notts County down, the game saw few attempts on goal from either side, also finishing 0-0, yet it was Notts with the majority of attacking play – the reds defence coming under immense pressure. Particularly during a tense 10 minutes in the second-half where Liverpool’s attempts to control the game just seemed to further invite the home side to press high up the pitch and try to catch the visitors off guard.
 Gemma Bonner put in a good shift at centre-back, chasing every ball and dealing with the threat of Jess Clarke and Desiree Scott.
 The final game before the mid-season break seen Liverpool entertain Birmingham City Ladies at home on Saturday 24th May, being held by the in-form City 1-1.
 A dubious penalty decision against Libby Stout seen her concede her first league goal this season, with Karen Carney sending the reds stopper the wrong way.
 Liverpool drew level through a penalty themselves in the second-half, Fara Williams coolly finishing from the spot after Hannah Dale was fouled in the box.
 With a  cup-heavy first-half to the season, Liverpool Ladies faced Arsenal Ladies in the first league game back after the break.

 Goalkeeper Libby Stout missed out through injury, with Danielle Gibbons once again stepping between the posts. Gibbons was unlucky to concede a scrappy goal, Casey Stoney somehow bundling the ball over the line from her corner to score the only goal of the game.

 Katie Zelem returned from injury, impressing on her first competitive appearance for the senior side however Liverpool couldn’t find an equaliser – despite second-half substitutes Nina Frausing and Claudia Walker linking well, the latter seeing a shot blocked by the Arsenal keeper.

 WSL action then once again took a back seat as the Continental Cup group stage played out it’s final few games, before Liverpool returning to winning ways in the league with a 1-0 win over Everton Ladies on Wednesday 16th July.

 Corina Schroder brilliantly held off a number of blue players to send the ball into the 18-yard box, Natasha Dowie putting it into the path of Kate Longhurst who scored her first goal of the year and her first over Everton for Liverpool.

 Longhurst’s strike would prove to be the decider, Libby Stout saving well from Nikita Parris in the first-half and Schroder magnificently getting back across the face of goal to block a goal bound strike in the second-half.

 Unfortunately for Liverpool the next game for them came against Manchester City, the side who had beat them a couple of months earlier in the Continental Cup. The Etihad continued to be a tough place to visit for Liverpool as they fell to their second and final defeat of the league campaign.

 The reds were missing young England trio Martha Harris, Katie Zelem and Ellie Stewart and conceded an unlucky goal as Joey Johnson’s strike deflected off a couple of players to defy Stout and gift City the 3 points.

 Following the defeat at Manchester City, Liverpool embarked on a run of 6 games with no losses as they closed in on retaining the title.

 Beginning with a superb win at home over Chelsea Ladies, Lucy Bronze simply outstanding from start to finish and Liverpool completely outclassing their title rivals.

 Putting their visitors on the back foot from the opening whistle and going all-out in attack, Katrin Omarsdottir patrolling the midfield and winning back the ball seemingly every time it somehow found it’s way back to a blue shirt.

 Lucy Bronze opened the scoring after cutting straight through the heart of the Chelsea defence, exchanging passes with the also impressive Gemma Davison on the edge of the box and thumping the ball past the hapless keeper. Davison also scored during the first-half and the Londoners simply could not find a reply.

 Next up came another home game, this time with Notts County paying the reds a visit. Earlier in the season the two had played out a 0-0 draw with both defences cancelling the other out and it looked to be going that way during this game also.

 That was until Katie Zelem came on in the second-half, the England youth international converting Gemma Davison’s cross with her first touch of the game to send the stands into raptures and bag an all-important 3 points for Liverpool.

 Then came a Merseyside derby against a struggling Everton side who were fighting for their lives in the top tier of women’s football, derbies are tough games regardless but this one had extra bite due to both teams league positions and both having all to play for.

 Liverpool once again held the majority of the possession during the opening exchanges yet it was Everton who took the lead – breaking on the counter attack through Nikita Parris, her strike saved by Libby Stout but the resulting corner sent over the line by Danielle Turner.

 Kate Longhurst and Natasha Dowie formed a great partnership during this game and both found themselves on the scoresheet, Dowie equalising and in doing so scoring her 5th goal against the blues in 2 seasons. Shortly after Longhurst must have scored she had again scored the winner for the reds with a well-taken goal.

 Liverpool’s joy at being in front was short lived, as Nikita Parris scored from outside the 18-yard box to give Everton a share of the spoils in the 2-2 draw.

 Entering the business end of the season and with Liverpool facing the toughest of run-ins, starting with an away trip to title contenders and Champions League quarter-finals Birmingham City.

 Despite a frantic opening 20 minutes in which each side struggled to get a hold on the game, it was Fara Williams who ensured the reds regained their composure and the midfield began to tick nicely with Amanda Da Costa and Martha Harris linking well.

 Harris has seen opportunities for Liverpool this year limited, both through injury and her involvement with the U20s World Cup. In the first-half she showed Liverpool supporters what they miss with her out, attacking down the right and drawing blue players to the edge of the box before sending the ball goalwards for Da Costa to tap over the line.

 1-0 up and with minutes remaining on the clock, the unthinkable happened as the reliable Libby Stout made a rare mis-kick – putting the ball at the feet of ex-Liverpool striker Hannah Keryakoplis.

 A stroke of genius from Fara Williams immediately from the restart however made sure the reds left with 3 points, Williams spotting Becky Spencer off her line as Birmingham retook their positions and taking just one touch before scoring the winner from the half way line.

 In their penultimate game of the season Liverpool Ladies were away at Arsenal Ladies, where they found themselves 2-0 down within 10 minutes. Matt Beard made a first-half substitution with Gemma Davison coming on to terrorise her former club, the tactical change made a noticeable difference to the reds as they began to look more comfortable on the ball and confident in possession.

 Fara Williams pulled a goal back before the break before Casey Stoney re-extended the gunners lead to 3-1 from a corner.

 Another substitution made a welcome appearances on the afternoon, Nicole Rolser making her return from injury and immediately linking up with Natasha Dowie to score on her return.

 Into injury and looking as though all hopes of retaining the title had gone, Gemma Davison  made a wonderful solo run through the Arsenal defence to finish past the keeper and keep Liverpool in with a chance going into the final day of the season.

 The final day of the season came around quickly, with Liverpool needing results in 2 other games to go their way while also beating Bristol Academy by 2 or more goals.

 The reds somehow went in at half-time with no goals, despite Katrin Omarsdottir having a 2nd minute strike blocked on the line and Lucy Bronze hitting the crossbar.

 Out fighting for the second-half and spurred on by the news that results in other games were indeed going their way, Natasha Dowie and Lucy Bronze scoring before Fara Williams rounded off the 3-0 win from the penalty spot.

 As the final whistle blew at Select Stadium, the atmosphere grew tense as the players and supporters waited for the news from the other games – a goal in either one would take Liverpool’s title.

 After what seemed like hours, confirmation eventually seeped through and spread through the crowd that Chelsea had been beaten at Manchester City and Birmingham held to a draw by Notts County – Liverpool Ladies were once again league champions.

The FA Cup
 W 1 / D 0 / L 1
 Having reached the semi-final of this competition last season, Liverpool Ladies were hoping to go one step further in 2014.
 Starting brightly with a 2-0 victory over former keeper Rachael Laws’ Sunderland Ladies, despite losing Amanda Da Costa to injury in the warm-up and being forced into an early tactical change.
 Kate Longhurst worked hard on the wing brilliantly setting up Martha Harris for the opener; Longhurst was also involved in the build up for the second after Sunderland failed to clear her strike, Natasha Dowie finishing from just yards out to double the reds lead.

 This win set up a quarter-final with Merseyside rivals Everton Ladies, on Saturday 26th April the first derby of the season enticed a crowd of 824 spectators who watched as Liverpool crashed out the cup following a great first-half performance from the blues.
 Nikita Parris struck the first goal after racing past Gemma Bonner into the box, Alex Greenwood doubling Everton’s lead just before half-time following a corner.
 Everton Ladies went on to The FA Cup final, where they were beaten 3-0 by a Kelly Smith inspired Arsenal Ladies.
 Our blue neighbours have also since been relegated to the lower tier of the Women’s Super League, after failing to win a league game all season. I know I speak for the majority of Liverpool supporters when I say that hopefully they can bounce straight back up, the league won’t be the same without the derby fixtures to look forward to. 
Continental Cup
 W 3 / D 1 / L 1
 Just four days after defeat to Everton in The FA Cup, Liverpool hosted their rivals yet again – this time in the Continental Cup on Wednesday 30th April.
 Liverpool began this game much better, quickly seeking to win and retain possession with Everton seeming content to sit back and defend, attempting to catch the reds on the counter attack and utilise the pace of Nikita Parris.
 Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze effectively dealt with Parris this time around, frustrating the young striker and limiting both her options and attempts on goal.
 Everton also defended well, Natasha Dowie’s cross to Claudia Walker well cut out by Gabby George. Walker also seen a late strike tipped over the bar by the Everton keeper, while Corina Schroder hit the crossbar in the first-half. The game finished 0-0.
 On Saturday 3rd May, after 3 games with no goals for Liverpool, the reds welcomed back title winning keeper Rachael Laws and Sunderland Ladies to Select Stadium. Laws did not start as Liverpool ran rampant, putting 6 past the black cats.
 Gemma Davison opened the scoring with her first goal since her winter move from Arsenal Ladies, an excellent goal from outside the 18-yard box. Davison then turned provider for the following goals, sending a cross across the face of goal for Corina Schroder to score the second.
 Natasha Dowie then bagged herself a hat-trick; the first headed home from a Fara Williams corner, the second a fantastic move after turning with the ball and finishing from just inside the box and the third another brilliant finish – this time with her left foot.
 Katrin Omarsdottir rounded off the scoring after scrambling the ball home from close range.
 Following a short international break for the World Cup qualifiers, the Continental Cup action resumed as Liverpool travelled to Manchester City on Wednesday 14th May, picking up their second defeat of the year with a 2-1 loss.
 City – much like Everton in The FA Cup – piled the pressure on Liverpool early on, Toni Duggan’s headed going out wide for a cross to be swung in and cleared only as far as Abbie McManus. McManus finishing well from distance past Libby Stout, on her first start since return from injury.
 Minutes later Katrin Omarsdottir almost put Liverpool in front – her strike was blocked by Steph Houghton and the follow-up from Claudia Walker also hit the England captain.
 Manchester City retook the lead through Izzy Christianson shortly after half-time, while a positive for Liverpool in the second-half was the return of Martha Harris who had missed most of the season so far through injury.
 After the mid-season break and a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal Ladies in the league, Liverpool were on the road again – this time headed to Durham WFC.
 Matt Beard took the opportunity during the game to try out a new formation, during the first-half Liverpool held most of the possession and Natasha Dowie could have had a first-half hat-trick – going in at the break with only 1 goal to her name.
 Dowie soon doubled her tally in the second-half as Liverpool once again tore into a WSL2 side, her second coming shortly after Gemma Bonner netted from a corner.
 3-0 up and showing no signs of slowing, both Katie Zelem and Gemma Davison also bagged second-half braces as the attacking approach to the game through the use of Lucy Bronze and Corina Schroder as wing-backs paid off.
 Shortly before full-time Libby Stout conceded a penalty, which Durham’s captain Caroline Dixon adding a late consolation goal for the home supporters from the spot to make the final result 7-1 to the visitors.
 Facing Doncaster Belles 6 days later the reds once again were hungry for goals, picking up where they left off against Durham with Gemma Davison chief play maker in the centre of midfield. Natasha Dowie once again scored twice, either side of Amanda Da Costa’s first goal in 2014.
 Doncaster mounted a brief comeback in the second-half, pegging Liverpool back to 3-2 however the reds hung on for the win.
 Liverpool Ladies narrowly missed out on a spot in the semi-finals of the Continental Cup; with 3 groups in the first stage of the competition and only the winners of each group and the best runner-up progressing to the next round. Group winners Manchester City won the trophy in their first year of competing, beating Arsenal Ladies 1-0 in the final.
Champions League
 W 1 / D 0 / L 1
 Liverpool Ladies entered the Women’s Champions League for the first time in 2014, unfortunately finding themselves unseeded and with a tough Round of 32 draw to Swedish side Linkopings FC.
 The first leg took place at Select Stadium, Widnes on Wednesday 9th October in front of a crowd of 627 supporters. Liverpool took the lead through Gemma Davison in the first-half however Linkoping pegged the reds back by a goal shortly before half-time.
 Natasha Dowie scored the winning goal during a hard-fought second-half, with Liverpool having the slightest of edges over their Swedish visitors to take the advantage into the second leg.
 A week later and the reds were in Sweden, falling to a 3-0 defeat. The game perhaps coming at the wrong time, their 4th in 11 days and just 4 days after battling to retain their Women’s Super League title.
 Libby Stout faced her toughest test so far in a Liverpool shirt, standing well against the challenge and producing a number of saves to keep the deficit to less than what it could have been. 
 Fridolina Rolfo scored a hat-trick to confirm the reds exit from the Champions League.
 Liverpool should not be disheartened by their early exit, the experience will stand them in good stead as they re-enter the competition in 2015. The WSL champions will also be a seeded club in next year’s competition, due to a UEFA rule change.
End of Season Awards

 Player of the Season

 For the last two seasons now I have ran a vote on twitter for Player of the Season, both midway through the campaign and at the end. Last year’s winner was leading goal scorer Natasha Dowie, while midway winners have been Louise Fors and Becky Easton.
 Below you can find a countdown of those players who came in the top 5 of the vote, including a Q&A with the Player of the Season.
 5) Gemma Bonner / Natasha Dowie
 Gemma Bonner is Liverpool’s captain fantastic; a brick wall at the centre of the reds defence. Bonner’s performances can sometimes go unnoticed, a consistent player who has been partnered with a number of partners at central defence this season, offers constant support and encouragement to her team mates and is a leading example both on and off the pitch. It is no secret that Liverpool have faced a difficult season with injury this year and credit must go to Bonner for steadying the ship in defence, ensuring along with her defence that Liverpool conceded almost half as less goals as they did in the previous year.
 Natasha Dowie is one of just 2 players to have featured in every single game in both of Liverpool’s title winning campaigns. Once again Dowie is Liverpool’s top scorer despite suffering with the loss of Nicole Rolser and Louise Fors, scoring 13 goals in all competitions once again from a whole host of positions – a quality that makes Dowie one of the most dangerous strikers in the league, comfortable scoring with her head, tap ins, lobs and volleys from outside of the box.  Rolser returning from injury 3 games before the end of the season no doubt boosted the reds no.9 game and the partnership was immediately reignited during the 3-3 Arsenal draw.
 4) Libby Stout
+ Signing of the Season

 Despite arriving in England relatively unknown, Libby Stout has been an inspired signing by Matt Beard – who recently cited the Liverpool no.1 as one of the best keepers in the world. Keeping 9 clean sheets in 18 appearances and 11 games with no goals from open play, Stout is an excellent shot stopper who communicates well with her defence – constantly coming off her line and at times out of the box to halt attacks before they reach her. 
 3) Becky Easton

 Player of the Season at the midway stage and still many supporters’ choice for the final vote, Becky Easton has been a massive influence for Liverpool in 2014. The best way to describe Easton, as one voter mid-season brilliantly put it, is ‘passionate, hard and Scouse’. The defender never shies away from a challenge, never gives up the chase after an attacker and always gives 100% when playing in the red of Liverpool. The most experienced member of the squad is highly thought of amongst her team mates, a great influence on the youth players coming through who can see the career Easton has had and continues to have. 
 2) Fara Williams / Gemma Davison

 Towards the end of the season Fara Williams turned in some of her most impressive performances in a red shirt, rousing displays against Birmingham City and Arsenal Ladies, coupled with important penalties and set pieces scored throughout the season has drawn attention from supporters. Her audacious winner over Birmingham was a defining moment of Liverpool’s season and Williams also scored a vital equaliser over the blues back in May. This year Williams has also became England’s most capped player of all-time and shows no sign of slowing down for club or country.
 Gemma Davison is the second new signing to feature amongst the top 5, winning votes from supporters who cited her dazzling forward runs, her skill and technique on the ball and that goal she scored against former club Arsenal Ladies. As well as scoring one of, if not the, most important goals of the reds season, Davison also scored their first ever goal in the Champions League in the home tie against Linkopings FC and set up Natasha Dowie on the final day of the league season as Liverpool closed in on their second consecutive title.
 1) Player of the Season: 

Lucy Bronze
  At the end of 2013 Lucy Bronze picked up the Liverpool players’ Player of the Season award and 4 months later the PFA Player of the Year, her performances for Liverpool since the move from Everton 12 months earlier consistently good and earning the recognition from her fellow professionals.

 In 2013, Lucy has continued to display all of the qualities that seen her pick up the awards for her displays in a red shirt.

 Beginning the season at centre-back alongside captain Gemma Bonner, Bronze still showed the attacking side of her game – it was her pinpoint pass that set up Natasha Dowie for the opening goal of the league campaign against Manchester City.

 Bronze had filled in at centre-back twice in the previous year, and has also made the centre-back starting spot her own at international level – beating established England players such as former captain Casey Stoney into Mark Sampson’s team. Lucy featured in all but one of England’s World Cup qualifiers, only missing the Wales game through suspension.

 During the 0-0 draw against Notts County in the first-half of the season, Matt Beard switched Bronze back out to right-back – immediately giving the reds the advantage of her attacking flair on the right side of the pitch.

 Staying at right-back until the final game of the year, Lucy formed a good partnership with Gemma Davison who was also deployed mainly on the right and most of Liverpool’s attack came from that side of the field.

 Bronze picked up many Player of the Match awards during the course of the season (a quarter of all games) and it could have been many, many more. Supporters appreciate her hard work, her consistency and her never-say-die attitude..

 A game in which Lucy perhaps played her best game for Liverpool this season was the home win over Chelsea Ladies, attacking with intent and defending well against a Chelsea side that boasts one of the best squads in the league. A powerhouse of a performance was capped with a goal after an excellent run and a quick exchange with Davison on the edge of the area ended in Bronze smashing the ball past the keeper for her first goal of the season.

 What Liverpool supporters admire most in a player is the passion and determination when wearing the Liverbird upon their chest, Lucy Bronze is a player who has this in abundance – perfectly displayed by her performance in Liverpool’s Champions League exit, her head never dropping as she put all her energy into attempting to drive the team on.

 Liverpool Football Club are lucky to have a player of Bronze’s calibre amongst their ranks.

 Prior to the game in Sweden, Lucy also took the time out to answer a few questions for this blog;

 Q : Congratulations, Lucy! You are @LFCladiesfans Player of the Season, how does it feel to add this accolade to your PFA Player of the Year award?
 Lucy Bronze : Brilliant, I think as a defender individual awards always mean a little more and it’s amazing to have had players support last year and the fans support this year. The manager’s point of view means a lot, but you always want to impress players and fans!
 Q : Having started the season at centre-back, how did the move back out to right-back come about? Which position do you prefer?
 Lucy Bronze : Initially the move to centre-half was because of losing Whitney Engen at the end of last year, this left an obvious hole in the back line. Matt put me back at right-back mid-season to give me more chance to attack and more freedom to join in knowing I’d get back to defend.
 I always say I prefer right-back. Not that I dislike centre-back – because I love it. Just at full-back I love getting myself involved higher up the pitch. 
 Q : Liverpool’s defence has tightened considerably this year, what do you think has been the main difference in this?
 Lucy Bronze : Libby Stout! I don’t think people quite yet realise how good she is. We all know training with her every day, but this girl is quality. Also we wanted to tighten up defensively after last year when we focussed so much on attack. I think our next step is to balance the defensive work of this year, with the attacking play of last year. Hopefully we’ll get that balance next year – third times the charm!
 Q : With Liverpool’s injury crisis during the first-half of the season, how much of a factor did team spirit play in keeping you fighting for the title until the end?
 Lucy Bronze : I don’t think teams outside of our team realise how much we actually were affected by injury this year. We literally had players playing in big games carrying knocks and injuries, purely because we didn’t have anyone else – but I know for me it’s taught me a lot. Not only had it been our team spirit but I think that’s well known at Liverpool, that we have a good environment and we really all get along. A lot of players have had to take responsibility of the team this year and dig out individual performances to help the team – which is something we didn’t have to do as much last year when everyone was fit and healthy and playing well.
 Q : Talk us through your feelings between the final whistle in your game and the news filtering over of the full-time results in Manchester and Birmingham.
 Lucy Bronze : Once the whistle had gone I just got myself into the crowd to see my family. I didn’t know whether to get excited or not, they were excited for me. There were no real emotions for how any of us were feeling… disbelief/ excitement/ anxious/ nervous. Then someone shouted from inside and we all went mad. I think that’s why so many players had so many different emotions, crying, laughing, screaming because it was so surreal.
 Q : Finally, what have your personal highlights been from the 2014 season?
 Lucy Bronze : I think we have had a lot of dramatic games this year, but my best best memories have come at the end of the season. Fara’s winner against Birmingham was epic, then the Arsenal game to come back the way we did from 2-0 down and scoring last minute for a crucial point. Then the obvious last game of the season, I think against Bristol we played some really good football – we could have easily scored a couple in the first-half and then to top that great team performance off with the trophy at the end was quality.
 Now hopefully we can take that last few games of form into our Champions League run and do ourselves and the fans proud!!
 Young Player of the Season
Katie Zelem
 Katie Zelem missed the first-half of the season after picking up an injury while on international duty with England U19s, On her return during the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal Ladies, Zelem impressed – holding her own in midfield against an experienced Arsenal side and displaying her eye for a good pass. As the second-half of the season progressed, Katie became an important first-team player scoring twice in the Continental Cup against Durham WFC and grabbing an important winner in a tough 1-0 against Notts County with her first touch.

Unsung Hero

 This award was one I debated, changed, took out altogether and then decided to leave in. There are a number of players that you could consider for ‘Unsung Hero’; Amanda Da Costa who is the heartbeat of the Liverpool midfield, Corina Schroder who is argubly the best crosser in the squad, Katrin Omarsdottir who excellently reads the game from the centre of the pitch and the hard working Kate Longhurst.
 Amanda Da Costa has missed just 1 game all season, a true box-to-box midfielder who works to the maximum of her ability whenever on the pitch. Liverpool’s vice captain is an integral part of the squad who is often, not overlooked, but perhaps underestimated and her play making abilities and passing range unrivalled.
Goal of the Season
 1) Fara Williams v Birmingham City, 21st September


 2) Natasha Dowie v Sunderland Ladies, 3rd May
 3) Gemma Davison v Arsenal Ladies, 5th October
 Performance of the Season
 Liverpool Ladies can be proud of their performance in their first ever Champions League game. Facing tough opposition in Linkopings FC between 2 critical league games, Liverpool matched their opponents during a tense first-half in which Gemma Davison opened the scoring. The reds upped their game in the second-half, fighting for the winner which deservedly fell to Natasha Dowie 15 minutes from time. As mentioned earlier, this experience amongst Europe’s elite will only benefit Liverpool as they re-enter the competition in 2015.
Development Squad
Mollie Green & Emilie Revitt join in the title celebrations

 The first-team season may have now drawn to a close, however Liverpool Ladies Development Squad have made a fantastic start to their 2014/15 season. The Development League runs from September to May, with a break over the winter – no games in December or January.
 U17 FA Youth Cup winning coach Matty Campbell has taken over the reins this year and the first 5 games have seen 5 wins, no goals conceded and 19 goals scored. An impressive feat given they faced last season’s champions Sunderland Ladies away in their opening game and also beat a good Manchester City side in the cup.
 Ashley Hodson scored back-to-back hat-tricks in the victories over Doncaster Belles and Notts County Ladies, with 7 goals in 3 appearances. Mollie Green is hot on her heels with 5 in 5. 
 Goalkeeper Rachel Darbyshire, one of many making the step-up from Liverpool’s U17s, has played 3 games with 3 clean sheets.
 For more information on the Development Squad, my Season Preview features a Player-by-Player guide: Development Squad Season Preview.
 The team have a run of 3 home games in November, every Sunday from 2nd November onwards. Entry to games is free of charge and a great way to see the future talent at the club and those youth players who have featured for the first-team during their campaign.
  Thank you for reading @LFCladiesfans Season Review! Please keep following throughout the off-season, I’ll be bringing you the latest news from the Development Squad – attending all their home games. Make sure you’re also following @LFCladies for any news on new signings!
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