6 – Sophie Bradley-Auckland (VC)
7 – Jess Clarke
18 – Fran Kitching (GK)
24 – Kirsty Linnett
*on loan at Sheffield United 2018/19
*on loan at Sheffield United 2018/19
Neil Redfearn’s ninth signing of the summer arrived on Merseyside this week, Sophie Bradley-Auckland following the new manager from Doncaster Belles with a wealth of experience under her belt.
The Reds defender having previously played for Leeds, Lincoln and Notts County and been involved in the Women’s Super League since it’s inception in 2011.
Sophie has also been capped multiple times for England, playing in the World Cup and at the London Olympics in 2012 for Team GB.
I wasn’t short of finding a fan to talk to about Sophie, at all her previous clubs and internationally she has impressed.
Ex-Notts County supporter Jess Cully has watched Sophie play for club and country and says she is “a strong, reliable centre back” who plays “with grit and iron determination and is a leader on the pitch.”
On the field Liverpool supporters can look forward to her “strength, courage and leadership” says Jess, while off it Sophie “loves her fans” and is “very warm and friendly.”
Jess also cites her title winning campaign at Doncaster last season as one of her highlights, the season marking an impressive comeback from injury setbacks the previous year – “that triumph was so richly deserved.”
A role model on and off the pitch, working part time as well as being a mother, Sophie is an important addition to this Liverpool side.
The second of Liverpool four signings today is goal scoring midfielder and new Reds number 10 Christie Murray.
Christie, like Niamh and the other two arrivals, brings with her bags of experience. A Scotland international who featured at last summer’s European Championship and a proven goalscorer in both the English and Scotland leagues.
Before leaving Doncaster in December, Christie had scored eight goals in ten games and picked up the league’s Player of the Month award for December.
Speaking to one of Doncaster’s loyal supporters Laura Thornton about Christie (the Belles “pocket rocket”) has confirmed the midfielder is yet another exceptional addition to this Liverpool squad.
Laura tells me Christie is “an excellent striker of the ball” who “can also drop deep and add creativity to play.”
With the Liverpool team for next season beginning to take shape and packed to the brim with hard working players, Laura says we can also expect that from Christie who is “a hard working player who won’t give up.”
Off the pitch Christie is “very friendly, easy to talk to” and without a doubt “become a fans favourite.”
Laura’s memorable moment involving Christie came during last summer’s Euros when, after Scotland had been beaten by England, she made the time to go and see the Belles supporters who had travelled.
Christie’s friendliness is something I can personally endorse having met her last week at Anfield, she took the time to ask everyone’s name and made it her aim to learn them all throughout the day.
Another super signing for the Reds, and another international super Scot to get behind.
Welcome to Liverpool, Christie!
Liverpool added another international star to their ranks earlier today with the signing of Republic of Ireland player Niamh Fahey.
Niamh is comfortable playing in defence or midfield and spent last season playing for Bordeaux in the French league. Prior to her time in France Niamh played for both Arsenal (six years) and Chelsea (three years).
In her own words Niamh describes herself as an “intelligent player” who “reads the game well”, “I like a good tackle, strong, committed, like to play with the ball – a bit of everything really.”
Our new signing is also a massive Liverpool fan who says she cannot wait to pull on the red shirt for the first time.
Signing a player with the experience of Niamh, a proven winner with multiple medals to her name, will do wonders for the new-look Reds.
Excited to find out more I contacted Sophie Downey – one half of the excellent and long-time friends of this blog Girls on the Ball – to get the scoop on our number five.
Sophie supports Arsenal and has watched Niamh play many times over the years, first with the Gunners during her six-year spell in North London and then with Chelsea from 2014, and started by telling me “you’ve definitely got yourselves a good one there.”
Niamh is “extremely solid, versatile (seen her play centre back, left back and in midfield) and a strong passer of the ball.
“The experience she brings will do wonders for Liverpool on and off the pitch – she’s won everything there is to win domestically several times.”
Sophie added that Niamh is a lovely person who will be great with the younger players at the Reds, super smart having worked in biomedical science in the past and told me she would have her back at Arsenal “in an instant.”
As for a memorable moment, back in April 2013 Niamh suffered an injury to her ACL and made her comeback in 2014 to feature towards the end of the Gunners FA Cup run – picking up the trophy in only her second game back.
Every player the Reds have signed so far this summer brings something different to the side, yet in many ways display similar attributes – hard working and genuine people.
It’s going to be a good year, welcome to Liverpool, Niamh!
Today Liverpool announced the signing of Razza Roberts, a defender from Chester who began her playing career at Blackburn before moving to Doncaster in 2013.
Razza has played for the Belles since, impressing Wales head coach Jayne Ludlow to earn an international call up. At the time of her first call up Doncaster skipper (and new Reds centre half) Leandra Little said of our new number four;
“You know what you are going to get, week in, week out and she puts her body on the line for the team.
“She’s very strong in the tackle but also has the ability to spread the ball around the pitch.”
In Razza the Reds are getting a player with a big personality, popular with team mates and supporters alike. Former Liverpool forward Tash Harding commenting earlier: “You’ve got a great one there!”
Having spent plenty of time with Donny Belles supporters over the years, I messaged Sarah Maye earlier to find out what Reds fans can expect from Razza on and off the pitch.
Sarah is a long-time Belles supporter and member of Belles Noisy Fans (yes the ones with the bells) and has told me the Reds have signed an absolute gem in Razza.
When I asked what kind of player Liverpool supporters can expect, Sarah said “Uncompromising! Razza will put her entire being into every game, every challenge. Blood, sweat and tears for the cause but all with a big grin on her face.”
Razza is capable of “pinging diagonal passes half the length of the pitch, throwing her body on the line to block shots and maybe coming up with a headed goal or two.”
Doncaster players famously have a reputation across the league for the strong bond between team and supporters and Sarah tells me, “off the pitch we talk about the Belles family a lot and Razza is the sort of player that epitomises that. If you’ve got her back, she’ll have yours, she’s a gem.
Sarah finished by telling me of a memorable moment involving Razza and her love for gravy, not going into much detail but that there was a time – at the Select Security Stadium no less – that our new signing mistook sweet and sour sauce for gravy!
Since I spoke to Sarah news broke that Doncaster have had to pull out of the FA Women’s Championship and drop down to the National League. I am genuinely gutted for all the fans I’ve gotten to know over the years and everyone connected with the club, and would like to use this to say to all Doncaster, Sheffield and Notts County fans that you’re all welcome at Liverpool matches.
Doncaster Belles captain Leandra Little became Liverpool’s fifth signing of the summer today, joining the Reds after spending seven years with the South Yorkshire side.
Leandra comes with a wealth of experience in the Women’s Super League, also spending time at Lincoln prior to her time at Doncaster.
To say Leandra bolsters our defence would be selling it short, the centre half is a colossus at the back and a towering presence.
One of two players (the second being familiar face Kirsty Hanson) to play each and every one of Doncaster’s games last season as the Belles won the WSL2 title and Leandra is a past winner of Fan’s Player of the Season, Players’ Player and Player.
For those who follow the women’s game in England, Leandra probably needs no introduction however I spoke to Doncaster Belles supporter Kyle Thornton who travels up and down the country in support of the team.
Kyle told me that Leandra has been the Belles “rock in defence, allowing us to play three at the back at times and a more attacking style of football.
“She’s not afraid to go in to any challenge. You’re getting a player that’s one of the most hard working and one of the most underrated centre backs around. To sum her up in one word – solid.”
While at set pieces “in the box at the other end she’ll definitely get you a goal or two.”
When I asked Kyle if he had any memorable moments, whether personal or not, he said “after my mum passed away Leandra not only took the time to personally message me her condolences, but also arranged for the whole first team to send me a card. Which was only a small gesture but obviously meant so much.
“She’s not only a quality football player but an even better person.”
In Leandra the Reds are gaining a top professional with bags of experience, as manager Neil Redfearn says “this is a really important signing for the club… Leandra will be a massive influence in the dressing room this season as we begin a new era for the club.
“Leandra will play a key role in helping us to create a positive environment on and off the pitch so I am delighted to have signed.”
Since the signing was announced, Leandra posted an image of herself as a child in a Liverpool shirt alongside one of the pictures on her first day with the caption: “For all of the young girls and boys out there playing football – work hard and keep dreaming because they really can come true.”
I for one can’t wait to see her play for the Reds next season.
Neil Redfearn’s Liverpool squad is beginning to take shape after the announcement today that the club have a new number one in German goalkeeper Anke Preuss.
Anke arrives after spending 18 months in the North East with Sunderland, with previous experience across Europe at FCR 2001 Duisburg, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Frankfurt and Verona Calcio.
The two-times Champions League winner (with two different clubs!) is still just 25-years-old and joins the Reds in her prime after impressing at the Black Cats.
Neil said of his number one, “I am delighted that we have managed to complete the signing of Anke. She is a top class goalkeeper who has proven her qualities in the FAWSL with Sunderland Ladies over the past two seasons.”
The Reds boss also gave a hint of what Liverpool’s playing style will be from August as he said “Anke is a top class shot stopper as well as being very good with her distribution, so she will suit our style of play perfectly as we look to play out from the back.”
Having been told before that this was an excellent capture for the Reds, I spoke to the biggest Sunderland supporter I could find, Katie Hume, to find out all about our new ‘keeper.
Sunderland were lucky enough to have two superb goalies in the league last season, Anke starting the campaign yet finding game time limited after returning from injury due to the form of – a player Liverpool fans are more than aware of – Rachael Laws.
Katie tells me that Anke is “without a doubt one of the best shot stoppers in the league”, “a hard-working goalkeeper” and “a lovely person”.
“Anke’s performance in the Spring Series was outstanding and a very big reason why we finished fifth” – the Black Cats exceeded expectations during the short season with a young squad.
Katie also cites her experience in playing in – and winning – the Champions League and picks the highlight of her time at Sunderland as when the Reds new ‘keeper kept a clean sheet against Arsenal – a side Sunderland have notoriously struggled against in recent years.
What strikes me most about the signings Liverpool have completed so far, is the number of supporters falling over themselves to tell me what genuinely nice people the players are. Having also met several of them myself I am happy to confirm that Reds supporters are in for a treat in getting to know these footballers on and off the pitch.
Liverpool announced their third signing of the summer on Wednesday afternoon as Belgium winger Yana Daniëls joined Neil Redfearn’s new-look Reds.
Signing new players is always exciting and when that new player happens to support your club, I believe it makes it that little bit more special.