The Scott Rogers column: Chelsea test, Harris return and faith in a young squad

In his latest column, Liverpool Ladies boss Scott Rogers reflects on the home defeat to Reading, the return to action of Martha Harris and Saturday’s trip to Women’s Super League 1 leaders Chelsea.

It was a disappointing night for us last Friday when we lost 3-0 at home to Reading and it was one of those games when nothing went right for us. Collectively we just got it all wrong and nothing seemed to go our way, but that’s our fault and we will learn and move forward from it. Reading’s opening goal was a stunning strike from our former player Fara Williams. I’ve worked with Fara for years and I know how talented she is and I don’t think any goalkeeper in the world would have stopped that. It was just an unbelievable strike. I think the Women’s Super League is very strong this season. Gone are the days when you wouldn’t get punished for making one or two mistakes and you know the concentration level has to be absolutely spot on. One game doesn’t make us a bad team and we will put this game behind us and get ready for the next game against Chelsea.

The big plus for us on the night was the return of Martha Harris after a long injury lay-off when she came off the bench in the second half. It was fantastic to have Martha back and she gives me many options at the back. It’s like having a new signing getting Martha back and it’s a boost for everybody because she is a fantastic talent.

We head to the Kingsmeadow Stadium in Kingston on Saturday when we face another big test of our credentials against Chelsea (kick-off 12.30pm BST). They have an expensively assembled squad with world class international players and we know it will be tough, but I have faith in our young group and we will stand up to the challenge and give it everything we have got. Unfortunately we will be without Bethany England on Saturday because she can’t play against her parent club, but whoever comes into the side in her place I know they will do a good job for us. What we are looking forward too as staff and as players is the challenge of testing ourselves against one of the best teams in the league and indeed Europe. This is an opportunity for me to see where we are at and the level we are at. There’s no pressure on us and we can go out there and play and give it everything we have got.

We have a long-term project here at Liverpool Ladies to develop our young talented players and give them opportunities. One of my main aims is to try and develop the youngsters and bring them through and it will take time, but I think we are on track with that and the future is promising. We have got a lot of kids in our squad and we have faith in them. It’s a long season and we mustn’t start panicking after the Reading defeat. It’s a perfect opportunity for us on Saturday to bounce back against one of the best teams in Europe. We’ve shown that we are a side that can compete with the best and I’m sure we will do that again on Saturday.

After Chelsea we start our Continental Cup campaign with a group game against Sheffield FC Ladies at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes on Wednesday night (kick-off 7pm). I know their manager Zoe Johnson very well and she is a close friend of mine. It is going to be an interesting game but putting friendships aside they are very well organised and like to play football in the right way. I think they are one of the most underrated women’s teams considering the budget that they have to work to. They have got some very good players, some of them can certainly play at a higher level, but it’s another game that we have to be at our highest level if we are going to get a positive result.

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