Liverpool Ladies manager Matt Beard believes there's no added pressure on his side going into the new Women's Super League season as defending champions.

The Reds open their campaign with a home clash against Manchester City tonight, Thursday, at the Halton Stadium in Widnes (kick-off 7.45pm BST), and Beard is looking to take each game as it comes.

When asked about whether he feels any pressure, he told "Not for me. I don't think for the players either.

"I think they've obviously got expectations of themselves and as a group and we will just try to keep the players as grounded as we can.

"I think with Manchester City coming in to the league it's going to put a bit of pressure on them, and Chelsea have made a lot of signings so they're going to be under pressure also.

"So maybe we can go about our work unnoticed and just keep our heads down and work as hard as we possibly can."

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After Sunday's 2-0 win over Sunderland in the FA Women's Cup fifth round, attention now turns to Thursday night's eagerly anticipated Super League opener.

Having invested heavily in their squad during the close season, City have been tipped by many to be serious contenders to Liverpool's crown and Beard feels they'll provide a stern test.

He added: "They're in a similar position to what we were in last year so they've got a bit of excitement and buzz around their camp.

"We know what position they're in, and what pressure they're under as well because when we started against Everton last year it was a bit of a pressure game because we made 12 signings and people were talking about money and this that and the other.

"So I think we can just enjoy the night and hopefully get three points."

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When asked about who he sees as the main challengers for the title, Beard reckons it will be a lot more open that last season.

He said: "I think anyone can win it to be perfectly honest.

"Chelsea are strong, Man City are strong, Arsenal will regroup and Birmingham have proven that they're going to be strong this year with their win over Arsenal in the Champions League.

"You've also got Bristol, and Notts County who I think will be dark horses this year with some of the players that they've brought in.

"It's going to be a really competitive league and I think it'll be the tightest since the Super League was formed and it'll probably be fewer points than last year that will win it."

If you want to go to the Halton Stadium and cheer on the ladies admission is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children and concessions.

Click here for the latest news about the Liverpool Ladies, or visit their official website.