Liverpool Ladies heartbreakingly crashed out of the Continental Cup semi final tonight to Lincoln Ladies. Sarah Gregorius was handed her first start in a red shirt, replacing Jess Holbrook. Gregorius’ fellow new signing Kate Longhurst was cup tied as was Lincoln’s Lillie Billson, who of course had featured in our campaign in the first half of the season.
Reds Weekly Round Up! Week 7
It’s been a long 8 weeks since we played our last league game against Birmingham City. Tomorrow night we play Arsenal Ladies at Halton Stadium, Widnes in a 7pm KO that will be screened live on BT Sport.
Here is the final weekly round up (until the end of the season);
- Fara Williams was in last Sunday’s Mirror commenting on the upcoming Arsenal game and the disappointment of crashing out of the Euros early.
“I’ve felt very low since we went out of the Euros, but being back with my Liverpool team mates has given me a big lift.”
“We had a massive boost from beating Arsenal at their place, and if we can do it again on Saturday that will give us the confidence to go on and win the league.”
- Louise Fors has been updating her website this week, giving it a makeover in time for the second half of the season! The blogs are a great insight to what it’s like living in Liverpool and playing for the club, I really recommend that you go and check out a few of them.
- Last week there were rumours of a number of Liverpool players leaving the club, one of those has been confirmed this week as Hannah Keryakoplis who has gone to play for Stoke. Hannah made her debut for the Potters this week and scored on her debut.
Keryakoplis was our joint top scorer last season and made 18 appearances. However this season has found opportunities limited. Good luck at Stoke Hannah!
- Liverpool Ladies first game back against Arsenal will be shown live on new channel BT Sport, if you have BT Broadband this channel is free and you can subscribe by going to channel 413.
Full details on how to get BT Sport are here: http://www.bt.com/sport/
Anyone unable to watch BT Sport I am sure there will be a live stream link and will share that as soon as I find one on Twitter!
- Today came the news that at the end of the season defender Whitney Engen will leave Liverpool for Swedish side Tyreso FF. There she will join a number of previous and international team mates. There are conflicting reports on Twitter as to whether this is purely over the off-season or a permanent deal.
Tyreso put an official statement on their website, which when translated by Google gave us gems such as “American country impact jaw Whitney Engen is ready for the club”. Luckily Katja (@applessqabbles on Twitter) has translated this again for us so it makes a little more sense, you can find that here: Tyreso statement.
- Ahead of the season starting up again, manager Matt Beard has given a great interview to the official LFC website which you can read here: Matt Beard: “Don’t expect another rout”
PS One last thing, the latest issue of LFC magazine is duo out next week and should feature Amanda Da Costa’s regular column.
Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies vs Arsenal Ladies
After what seems a very long 8 weeks, Liverpool Ladies are finally back in action on Saturday night. In the first football match to be screened live on BT Sport we take on Arsenal Ladies at Halton Stadium, Widnes.
Arsenal had a slow start to their league campaign with a couple of postponements due to their run in both the Champions League and FA Cup. Unfortunately for them this means that their fixture list for the second half of the season is a little more congested than ours.
We have played Arsenal twice this season, losing one and winning one. First of all early in the season we faced the Gunners in The FA Cup at Anfield, a semi final in which we were narrowly beaten. A couple of weeks later we played Arsenal in the league at the Emirates, causing an upset as the Ladies ran riot with a 4-0 win – this being Arsenal’s first league defeat in almost 2 years.
Since this defeat Arsenal have returned to their unbeaten ways, although they came close to losing away at Lincoln with only a Steph Houghton wonder strike saving them at the end. They have won each of their last 3 games, including home and away against Bristol Academy and Chelsea. In those games Arsenal have scored 9 goals but conceded 5 and the last time they kept a clean sheet was back in April against Birmingham City – 9 games ago.
Over the summer Jennifer Beattie and Rebecca Spencer have left Arsenal, who have replaced the pair with young Scottish duo Emma Mitchell and Caroline Weir. Jayne Ludlow announced her retirement after spending 13 years with the club while they have been bolstered by the return of Katie Chapman. Kelly Smith may also feature, she made her return from injury for England during Euro 2013 and Steph Houghton should also now be fully fit, after picking up a slight injury in the last Arsenal Ladies game Houghton played in all 3 England games at the Euros.
Liverpool have also been making waves in the transfer market this summer with a number of new and exciting signings. New Zealand international Sarah Gregorius joins us from the German league and we have signed Chelsea Ladies forward Kate Longhurst, alongside two England Under 19 internationals – Ellie Stewart and Katie Zelem. Leaving the club is striker Lillie Fenlon-Billson, Billson has joined Lincoln Ladies where hopefully she will see more first team action. There has also been rumours of other players moving on but as yet these are unconfirmed.
Liverpool have been in fantastic form so far this season, topping the league table on goal difference. We have won 5 out of 6 league games scoring 17 goals – 11 in our last 3 – conceding just 6. There were many highlights over the first half of our season, most notably the 4-0 win at the Emirates and the 4-1 derby win away at Everton. As the season has progressed we have gotten better and better, the fitness levels of our players pushing us ahead of the other clubs. We also proved strength in depth with the brilliant Lucy Bronze stepping in on a number of occasions at centre back and Jess Holbrook doing a fine job in place of Katrin Omarsdottir in the final two league games of the season. These performances, along with the new signings, must give manager Matt Beard a welcome selection headache.
As mentioned earlier Arsenal seen a number of games early in their season postponed; while Liverpool have played 6 times, Arsenal have 2 games in hand with 4 games played. If Liverpool can take 3 points from Arsenal on Saturday it could be a massive blow to Arsenal’s title chances. At the moment the league is looking like a 3 horse race, with ourselves, Arsenal and Bristol Academy. Everton and Chelsea also sit in 3rd and 4th place respectively and, given a good run of results, could mount an attack on the top 2. There is currently an 8 point gap between Liverpool and Arsenal and a 6 point gap between us and Everton, who lie in 3rd with the same number of games played. Liverpool also have to play Bristol twice in two games that will be crucial to the second half of our season.
Liverpool v Arsenal kicks off 7:00pm this Saturday 3rd August. The club have announced this week that any supporter with tickets to Steven Gerrard’s testimonial that same day at Anfield will be granted free entry to our game. Anfield season ticket holders also have free entry to this game along with all other Liverpool Ladies home games. Alternatively tickets are priced just £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions which you can purchase there on the night.
If you have missed any Ladies news over the break I have been doing a weekly reds round up and you can find the links to each of these below. These will now cease until the end of the season, at least for now – I’ll see how it goes!
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 1
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 2
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 3
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 4
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 5
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 6
Reds Weekly Round Up: Week 7 – will be online this Friday.
Here is also a link to the mid season review I posted, thanks to everyone who has read this so far it is by far the most read post on this blog!
During the break I have started providing Liverpool website This Is Anfield with monthly updates on the Ladies. You can find the first two articles below if you fancy a bit more extra reading!
LFC Ladies June Round Up: Top of the League
LFC Ladies July Round Up: Euros and New Signings
Follow This Is Anfield on Twitter and like their Facebook page!
Finally just want to say a massive thank you to everybody who reads these blogs, follows @LFCLadiesFans on twitter, This Is Anfield for giving me to opportunity to bring the Ladies news to a wider audience and Antoine over at Empire of the Kop for allowing me to promote the Arsenal game on his site.
Hope to see you at Halton during the second half of the season!
Reds Weekly Round Up!
Twitter is sometimes a hard place to keep track of important (and not so important) news, so from this week you can catch up with all the latest Liverpool Ladies news here every Friday night. This first round up will also carry a couple of items across from last week.
- On Saturday 8th June Liverpool Ladies signed off from the first half of the FAWSL season with a thumping 4-1 victory over Birmingham City Ladies. Goals from Natasha Dowie, Lucy Bronze and 2 from German midfielder Nicole Rolser ensured the reds will go into the second half of the season as league leaders. Highlights can be found in the video below.
- Liverpool midfielder Amanda Da Costa writes an online blog for Equalizer Soccer which do differ slightly from the blogs she writes for the monthly LFC magazine. Her blogs are always worth a read and you can find the latest installment here: Amanda Da Costa blog: A Paris Excursion
- England’s Euro 2013 squad was announced Monday 17th June with places in the squad for 3 Liverpool players, the uncapped duo of our captain Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze and 100+ capped midfielder Fara Williams. Gemma attended the announcement at the British Museum in London and gave this interview to UEFA.com. Below are two videos, one from the announcement itself and the other introducing the squad. A noticeable and disappointing absence from the squad is Liverpool striker Natasha Dowie. Arguably the most in form attacking player going into the summer break and of course the leagues top scorer. The first game England play will be against Spain on 12th July.
- Onto more international action now, this week Wales had two games against Slovakia. Reds striker Hannah Keryakoplis came off the bench in both games. The first game on Monday finished in a 2-2 draw, while the game on Wednesday seen a 1-1 draw with both games being played in very hot conditions – 31 degrees on the Monday!
- The next red taking part in an international game this week was midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir who also came off the bench to feature in Iceland’s 2-0 defeat against Denmark. The defeat means Iceland have now lost 6 out of 7 games in 2013 so far.
- Whitney Engen’s USA team also had a couple of games in the last week, on Sunday night she was an unused substitute in their victory over South Korea and last night Whitney played the full 90 minutes as they did the double over the Korean side. During this game Abby Wambach surpassed Mia Hamm’s international goal scoring record, scoring 4 of the 5 goals during the 5-0 win in New York.
- Danielle Gibbons, Sarah Quantrill and Sam Chappell are at a 6 day England U23 training camp until 27th June, with Gibbons and Chappell part of the Team GB squad for Universiade in Russia this summer.
Match Report: Liverpool Ladies 4 – 1 Birmingham City Ladies
Another game, another team, another 4 goals scored, not a bad habit to be getting into. Liverpool made sure we go into the summer break at the top of the table with yet another emphatic 4 goal performance. Captain Gemma Bonner sat this game out through illness, Lucy Bronze partnering Whitney Engen in defence and Amanda Da Costa stepping into the role of team captain in her absence. Katrin, who missed the Everton game with a hamstring injury, started the game on the bench with Jess Holbrook in the starting 11 again. Rachael Laws our on loan goalkeeper also returning to the starting line up.
Both teams had early chances to go ahead, Liverpool almost immediately getting a goal through a Fara Williams corner then straight up at the other end a Birmingham corner was cleared by Nicole Rolser. Lucy Bronze did well all game keeping Rachel Williams quiet, pressuring her into passing the ball wide instead of shooting at goal and the resulting Birmingham cross was comfortably collected by Laws. Jess Holbrook continued her good form from the derby win and provided a great ball to Natasha Dowie who fired a shot on target but this was saved by blues keeper Mary Earps. Dowie’s next strike at goal hit the post and rebounded to Rolser who confidently slotted the ball into the net to put Liverpool in front. Birmingham equalised shortly afterwards when Kerys Harrop made the most of us not clearing the ball from a corner. Corina Schroder fresh from opening her Liverpool goal scoring account against Everton almost doubled her tally but her effort was saved by Earps. Just before half time Lucy Bronze capped an impressive first half performance with a powerful headed goal to ensure the reds went in 2-1.
With the teams back out for the second half, Liverpool perhaps spurred on by the news Bristol had beaten Lincoln meaning we had to win this game to stay at the top of the league. Rolser was pulled down just outside the Birmingham box but Fara Williams, playing probably her finest game in a red shirt yet, overhit her free kick. Dowie then almost went through on goal but her first touch let her down and the blues keeper collected the ball. Birmingham then had a free kick in a dangerous position which was taken well forcing a save from Laws. Somehow Birmingham then failed to score when a goal bound strike from Jo Potter bounced between both posts before being cleared, the travelling blues supporters thought it had gone in. Lucy Bronze continued her great performance by dispossessing Rachel Williams again and going on a run past a couple of Birmingham players into the other half. Jess Holbrook almost claimed her first Liverpool goal after a fantastic Fara Williams ball found Rolser on the right, Rolser passed it back to the waiting Holbrook who unluckily hit the post. Whitney Engen then raised a chuckle from the crowd with some choice language when she was nearly sent flying by the blues winger. Into the last ten minutes of the game, Birmingham noticeably tiring and being run ragged by our attack, Natasha Dowie took her goals tally for the season into double figures when she deflected an ambitious Fara Williams shot into the back of the net. Schroder then hit a great ball to Rolser who added insult to injury for Birmingham and scored our fourth goal of the game.
Liverpool team: Laws, Easton, Bronze, Engen, Schroder (Riccio), Williams, Holbrook, Rolser, Da Costa (C)(Katrin), Fors, Dowie (Billson). Unused subs: Gibbons, Chappell, Keryakoplis
POTM: Lucy Bronze
So that’s it, the first half of the season gone already. We now break for the European Championships which kick off in Sweden on the 10th July, the final on the 28th July. Hopefully there will be more than one Liverpool player in the England squad, Fara Williams our only player certain of a place. Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze I think have done enough to deserve a call up and hopefully their inclusion in the recent England training camp is an indicator Hope Powell has them in her plans. Another Liverpool player who has done more than enough to receive a call up is the league’s top goalscorer Natasha Dowie. I really hope England have been taking notice of her performances for us and give her a well deserved spot in the squad. Katrin Omarsdottir will likely receive a call up for the Iceland team and Louise Fors will hopefully have caught Pia Sundhage’s eye and get a call up for host nation Sweden.
Our first week back after the break will be a busy one, we host Arsenal on Sunday 4th August before our Continental Cup semi final takes place 7th August against Lincoln in a game also to be played at Halton Stadium. Then the following weekend we travel to Bristol for a crucial top of the table clash.
Thanks for reading these blogs this side of the season and for following @LFCLadiesFans on twiter. I’m away for a week now but when I come back I will be posting a mid season review on here so keep an eye out for that. Also on twitter I will be providing updates on our players progress at the Euros.
Match Preview: Derby Day! Everton Ladies v Liverpool Ladies
Tuesday 4th June 2013, 7:30pm KO
Marine FC, Crosby
On Tuesday Liverpool Ladies will make the trip to Crosby to play Everton in the first league derby since Liverpool’s makeover. Liverpool have not had much luck in this fixture in the two previous WSL seasons; losing 3, drawing 1 and conceding 8 goals along the way. The good news is that 6 of those 8 goals were scored by players who have since joined the red revolution! (Natasha Dowie, Fara Williams and Lucy Bronze)
Since our last game some reds have been away on international duty. Fara Williams, Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner have been at a 3 day England training camp and Katrin Omarsdottir played during Iceland’s 3-2 defeat against Scotland. Also suffering defeat was reds striker Hannah Keryakoplis who’s Wales U19 team were beaten 2-1 by the Hungarian NT. Whitney Engen was the last of the reds away, she produced a player of the match display as USA beat Canada 3-0. That game took place on Sunday evening so Engen is a doubt to play in the derby.
If that is indeed the case there should be no changes to the starting line up that beat Lincoln 3-2 last Wednesday, with the more than capable Lucy Bronze filling in at centre back and Becky Easton retaining her place at right back. One player who I would like to see getting more game time is Lillie Billson. Billson nearly always comes on towards the end of a game and creates a few chances but at the moment it’s difficult to see who she would replace in the starting line up with our attacking players all in fine form. Natasha Dowie in particular is in unstoppable form at the moment, thriving under the service provided by Fors, Rolser and Da Costa. Dowie can hold up play brilliantly to bring the midfield into the attack and as a result Liverpool look dangerous on the counter attack. Louise Fors is another player producing consistently good displays, player of the match against Lincoln where she added to her goals tally for the season taking her to 4 in 10 games.
Everton despite our winter raid are a well oiled machine and will prove tough to defeat on home soil. Their last two games here in the league have ended in draws and they will be desperate to get back to winning ways. Their last WSL outing resulted in a 2-2 draw with a spirited Doncaster Belles side. They were without main striker Toni Duggan who was serving a one match ban for picking up 5 yellow cards in 8 games. Duggan’s absence was felt by the blues and she will be back to play against us. Leading the Everton attack was a lively Nikita Parris but Everton struggled getting the ball forward in the first half instead deciding to pepper the Doncaster goal with a number of long range shots. Jill Scott went closest to scoring before Jody Handley saw her goal ruled out for offside. All the goals came in the second half, Parris opened the scoring netting a fantastic effort from outside the 18 yard box however Everton twice gave up the lead to give Doncaster a well earned point. Lizzie Durack gave another convincing performance in the Everton goal while Rachael Brown is out through injury.
Both teams will be looking forward to this game and while Everton are a very good side I think now the quality in our reds side will be just enough to secure our first WSL victory over the blue half of the city. Last time we played Everton was right at the start of the season in a Continental Cup game when we were unlucky to come away with only a point. Since that game our team has grown a lot stronger having spent a lot more playing time together and we are beginning to dominate games against proven WSL sides (see Arsenal and Chelsea results for evidence of this!). Hope to see you there!
Match Preview: Liverpool Ladies v Lincoln Ladies & The FA Cup Final (BAWFC v ALFC)
This Wednesday Lincoln Ladies make the trip to Halton Stadium in search of their first league win this season. This game sees the start of a busy couple of weeks for Liverpool, for more information please see my previous blog here.
Liverpool go into this game sitting 3rd in the league but with a game in hand over second placed Chelsea. We have played three away games since our last game at Halton, the first of which being an emphatic 4-0 win over reigning champions Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. This ended Arsenal’s unbeaten league run which dated back to July 2011. People pointed to the fact Arsenal had a few players out injured but there was only two changes to the starting line up that beat us a couple of weeks earlier at Anfield. From the match reports and the two minute highlights video we get, Liverpool were clearly the more clinical team on the night coupled with top class defending unlike the Gunners. Whitney Engen’s goal line clearance could be watched over and over again and you would still be in awe every time! Amanda Da Costa scored the first two goals of her Liverpool career, Natasha Dowie and Louise Fors grabbed the other two.
After the Arsenal victory it was back to London again looking for a third straight league win, a win over Chelsea would have kept us at the top of the table. Liverpool started brightly taking and early lead through Whitney Engen (or Egan if you’re the commentator on the FAWSL highlights video) and Nicole Rolser’s goal bound strike was only just tipped over by the Chelsea keeper. Jakobsson equalised for Chelsea shortly before half time. Liverpool sustained their first half pressure after coming out for the second half, however despite a clear foul on Whitney Engen in the build up Chelsea took the lead with an Eni Aluko goal. Great goalkeeping from Linn prevented Liverpool from getting a goal back the game finished 2-1 Chelsea.
The third of our games seen us at Chelsea for a second weekend running, this time in the Continental Cup with Liverpool needing just a point to reach the semi finals. From the whistle Liverpool were never just looking for a point and quickly wreaked revenge on Chelsea. Nicole Rolser finally scored her first Liverpool goal, an in form Natasha Dowie scored twice bringing her season tally up to an impressive 7 goals in 9 games and Fara Williams rounded off the scoring with a brilliant free kick. The 4-0 victory seen us qualify for the semis in style at the top of our group and set up a semi final at Halton Stadium against Lincoln Ladies to be played 7th/8th August.
Onto the opposition then; Lincoln have had a mixed start to their season. They have done brilliantly in both cup competitions, only getting knocked out of The FA Cup in the semis against Bristol and setting up a Continental Cup semi against us despite their tough group of Arsenal, Bristol and Birmingham. They have yet to win a game in the league however and will no doubt be in search of 3 points in this game. Of their last 5 games they have lost just once and if not for a wonder goal from Steph Houghton, Lincoln could have claimed Arsenals second league defeat of the season.
Lincoln have quite a young side but also boast the experience of England captain Casey Stoney and England No 1 Karen Bardsley amongst their ranks. Jess Clarke will be a constant attacking threat on the wing, providing the service for front woman Carla Cantrell. Our previous game against Lincoln at Sincil Bank was won by a Natasha Dowie goal and finished 1-0, this game should be a similarly close encounter.
The FA Cup Final
To verge off topic from Liverpool now, yesterday I attended The FA Cup Final to see Bristol attempt to overcome Arsenal. It was a fantastic day out in Doncaster. I always love meeting fellow supporters and during the game I sat with 4 Arsenal supporters whilst silently hoping for a Bristol win! The game itself was good, I was disappointed with Bristol’s Laura del Rio starting on the bench but apparently she was carrying an injury and she did come on with about 15 minutes to go.
Arsenal opened the scoring within 2 minutes to immediately put Bristol on the back foot. Bristol’s defence was poor and it was only thanks to an excellent performance from Bristol goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain that the scoreline was kept to less than what it could have been. Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs gave a great performance and deservedly won player of the match. Bristol’s travelling support also deserves a mention for continuing to sing despite their team being 3-0 down. The only dampeners on the day were Lucy Staniforth’s injury and the treatment of the Doncaster Belles supporters. More on that can be found here.
Highlights of my day included hearing the Bristol supporters singing “4-0 at The Emirates” to the Arsenal team as they got off their bus, Alex Scott spying my Liverpool shirt and saying “oh no don’t remind me about that” and finally two 5 year old Arsenal supporters asking me what drug testing was thanks to Grace McCatty!
While I thoroughly enjoyed the final I would obviously have preferred to have seen Liverpool there but there is always next year and we still have the Continental Cup to play for!
Hope to see a few of you at the game on Wednesday, KO is 7:30pm and as always tickets available at the gate for a fiver!
Liverpool Ladies 1 – 2 Arsenal Ladies, FA Cup Semi Final Match Report
Match Preview: Arsenal Ladies
Tomorrow evening Liverpool Ladies take on Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi Final, looking to reach the final for the first time ever. Anfield will host the tie as the FA’s choice of a ‘neutral’ venue. Tickets on the night will be £5 for adults, £2.50 concessions with the seating being unreserved on The Kop. The game is not televised so if you’re in Liverpool get yourself down to support the girls and if you are unable to for whatever reason the official twitter will be live tweeting the game here. I will try my best to update my twitter whilst there however I don’t hold much faith with the wifi at Anfield!
Our opposition Arsenal are the team to beat in Women’s football and are by far the biggest test we could face on route to a final. Since their foundation in 1987 they have won the FA Cup a record 11 times and for the past two season have been Women’s Super League Champions. Their team boasts a number of established internationals including Women’s Player of the Year Steph Houghton. Houghton is a remarkable attacking left back who you may remember from scoring 3 goals for Great Britain in last years Olympics. Striker Kelly Smith has not featured for Arsenal yet this season and so is a doubt to appear here. Other players to watch out for are attacking midfielder Jordan Nobbs and Rachel Yankey.
To reach the semi-final Arsenal beat Birmingham 6-0 however have lost both games since, both to Wolfsburg whilst crashing out of the Champions League. On the other hand Liverpool go into the clash unbeaten in all competitions despite a near-complete squad overhaul during the winter the team have won all but one of their games together. That game being the 1-1 at home to Everton in the Continental Cup. Liverpool acquired their place in the semi-final with two away wins, convincingly beating Aston Villa 5-0 and then a 2-1 win over current Premier League Champions Sunderland in the quarters. Despite Liverpool Ladies never reaching an FA Cup Final before there is experience within the team, Fara Williams, Becky Easton and Natasha Dowie all won the cup while they were with Everton, Dowie scoring a great goal in the final.
To play at Anfield will be brilliant for players and supporters alike and it promises to be a great occasion!
Lincoln Ladies vs Liverpool Ladies, Sunday 14th April
This Sunday the ladies in red travel to Lincoln to play in the first game of the WSL season.
Read a preview to the game here.
I answered a few great questions on Lincoln Ladies supporter Adam’s preview blog which you can find below, and was supposed to do my own but I think his covers all corners!
AB: Liverpool have played three games so far and have won two and drawn one. How do you rate the performance of the side so far in this early stage of the season?
HC: Liverpool are in good form going into the season, a convincing 5-0 win at Aston Villa and a 2-1 victory away at Sunderland. However the game we drew at home against Everton is probably a more realistic view of where we are at the moment. We started well against Everton and if it were not for a couple of great saves from Rachel Brown we could have been 2-0 up going in at half time! We were a bit unlucky with the dubious decision that led to their goal and without that I think we could have gone on and got a hard earned victory.
AB: You have been by far the busiest club in the transfer market over the winter months. Which signing has most excited the fans?
HC: To be honest all the new signings have stirred excitement amongst supporters. They are a real statement of intent from the club alongside the integrating of the Women’s team into a bigger part of Liverpool Football Club as a whole.
The signings from Everton are huge for us, in particular Fara Williams who is a proven goal scoring midfielder in the WSL. Williams got a hat trick in her competitive debut for us which is great to see.
Whitney Engen is the biggest signing for us in my opinion; a fantastic centre back who I believe will be first choice for the USA in the coming years. If Engen and Gemma Bonner can form a successful partnership in the heart of our defence it will bring the stability that we have craved in the last couple of seasons.
AB: How has the move to a new stadium gone down with the supporters? The ground at Widnes is certainly a huge improvement from last season and you had a very good crowd in for the Everton match.
HC:Halton Stadium is a vast improvement from last season, a lot more accessible and appealing than being in Skelmersdale! The buzz around the new signings and the media coverage we seem to be getting should mean that the numbers through the gate will go up. Given that the game against Everton last month had such a good crowd despite the terrible weather conditions is a great indicator for the season ahead.
AB:Where do you expect Liverpool to finish this season in the league? And do you think there is added pressure on the club given all the signings made in the winter?
HC: Matt Beard has said the minimum target this season is a top four finish and while I feel this is a more realistic expectation if the team can settle quickly and get a good run of results together to get some momentum going I see no reason why we can’t at least challenge at the top of the table. Not saying I expect us to be winning the league straight away but to be up there and challenging for honours would be great for both the club and supporters after the last couple of seasons.
The pressure is on the players to perform especially with the aforementioned media coverage, it kind of feels as though everyone is watching us to see what happens. Hopefully that pressure is something the girls can thrive on.
AB:And finally could we have a prediction for this weekend’s game from you please
HC: The fixture has given us a lot of goals over the last two seasons however with both teams having strengthened at the back – Karen Bardsley being a great signing for you and our new centre back pairing of Engen and Bonner I can see this game being a tighter affair. I’m going to sit on the fence and go for a 1-1 draw!