In his latest column, Liverpool Ladies boss Scott Rogers explains why the team are counting on their wonderful fans more than ever before as they prepare to face Notts County Ladies in the Women’s FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday.
I want to start by praising our fantastic supporters because they pushed us over the line to beat Everton Ladies last Sunday in our fifth-round tie. Without their fantastic backing we might not have got the victory and I want them to know their support is never taken for granted. You could see we were tiring against Everton and at the start of extra-time our fans increased their volume and it lifted the girls. When they are singing their songs there is a notable difference in our players and it gives us a huge lift. I’m hoping they can replicate that on Sunday against Notts County and I can’t praise them enough.
We said before we had even kicked a ball against Everton that form and league positions go out of the window and it becomes a battle. I felt we controlled the majority of the game and we were the better side in the first half. The second 45 became a little bit scrappy and it was almost like one of our final pre-season games. That is not being disrespectful to Everton but what I mean by that is we couldn’t get enough games in pre-season so this was our toughest test to date. The girls were fantastic and they found a way to get us through to the quarter-finals.
We scored two excellent goals against Everton and that was a good sign. Natasha Harding scored our first goal with a superb finish but the build-up play was fantastic. The ball from Sophie Ingle out wide to Caroline Weir was different class, the assist for the assist if you will. Caz then put a perfect ball in for Natasha and it was a top-class goal. For our winner, Ali Johnson on debut produced the pinpoint cross for Shanice van de Sanden to score and that was so pleasing. We have always known that technically Ali’s left foot is like a wand and going forward she would cause them a lot of problems. We have spoken with her this week about the defensive side of her game. Stepping up from our development squad we were pleased with her. The step up in level shocked her a little bit but as the game went on she grew into it.
It was also fantastic to have Alex Greenwood back in the team after injury. Bearing in mind she hasn’t played in many games, she did brilliantly to get through the 120 minutes. It’s full credit to her and also full credit to the staff that she managed to play the full game. They have worked extremely hard with Alex to get her back in superb shape and she proved her international class. Mentally to get through the 120 minutes after being out of action just shows you what type of person she is. We could also have Casey Stoney back on Sunday and I will have to make a decision on that. Casey has been training really hard over the past few weeks and we have done some in-house stuff with her as well. We are looking forward to having Casey in our squad and her experience and indeed quality will be vital for us this season. Unfortunately we are still without Martha Harris who has suffered a setback when she was close to a return, but hopefully she can make a quick recovery. She’s a great player with great potential.
On Sunday we welcome Notts County Ladies to the Select Security Stadium in Widnes (kick-off 2pm BST) and what an incentive there is to try and reach the SSE Women’s FA Cup semi-finals. Rick Passmoor is a very shrewd coach who always gets the best out of his teams. He has done it for years and we know Notts County will be organised and tough to break down. He has a way of playing and is very effective. He is a very good coach in my opinion, and we know if we don’t turn up then we will be on a hiding to nothing. It’s going to be an extremely tough game and they have some very talented players in their squad, but so have we. It will be a good game of two contrasting styles of football but we believe that if we turn up we can beat anyone on our day. They will think the same but we proved last year we can mix it with the best of teams. We are looking forward to it and hopefully we can reward our supporters and continue our FA Cup run.
Thanks as always for your continued support,