Matt Beard on 2022 finale v Leicester, squad fitness and January transfer window

Press conferenceMatt Beard on 2022 finale v Leicester, squad fitness and January transfer window

Published 9th December 2022
By Steve Hunter

Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard previewed Sunday's home fixture with Leicester City Women in a pre-match press conference.

Following last weekend's 2-0 win over West Ham United, the Reds are hoping to end the calendar year in fine style in their final game of 2022.

On Friday morning, Beard was quizzed on several topics by the media ahead of the Barclays Women's Super League clash with the Foxes at Prenton Park – read a summary below...

On whether Liverpool are under added pressure going into this game as they are seen as favourites against the bottom side in the WSL…

I wouldn’t say there’s been added pressure because they are the ones that have to win the game because of their position, so you could probably flip that on them on that front. They have obviously changed their manager and we’ve looked at their games since Willie Kirk has been in charge, and they have had three different teams, different strategies for different games. If I look at the way they played against West Ham I would anticipate they will do the same against us.

It’s focusing on us like we did against West Ham, how we can break their press, how we can hurt them, and I thought our first 45 minutes last weekend was as good as we have played since I’ve been back. We just need to concentrate on ourselves, keep creating the chances we’ve been creating, and I’m confident we can do that. Obviously, because of their result last weekend they are going to want to put that right so that’s something we need to be aware of, but if we can keep creating like we’ve been doing then hopefully that will be enough to win the game on Sunday.

On whether he still feels Leicester can turn their season around under their new manager...

Listen, when I went to Bristol City we were five points adrift and had played two games more and we clawed it back and took it to the last day so in answer to that, definitely not [they are certain for relegation]. Willie is a good manager. You go back to when he took over Everton and he kept them up so it’s a similar situation. It’s a catch-22 really for Leicester. They have improved I think and if you look at their performance against West Ham I don’t think they deserved to lose that game. They were harder to play through as when we played them in the Continental Cup it was quite easy to break their press. We are not going to take anything for granted. For Willie to have Chelsea [and] Arsenal in his first two games, it’s tough, but we look at their performance against West Ham in comparison to the other two.

On whether he feels Leicester will have targeted this game to get some points on the board…

One hundred per cent. It reminds me of when Marcos Bignot went into Aston Villa and I was at Bristol City, we played them and it ended in a 2-2 draw. He had written off the top teams and said to the players you need to get points against Bristol City, whether it’s one or three. It’s going to be a similar situation. As I said, Willie has been in this situation before at Everton so he knows how to get teams out of that situation. We will not take them for granted. They have been a little bit unlucky with injuries, they have had a few missing and it does have an impact, like I’ve said with us. When we haven’t been performing or getting results we’ve kept our heads down and kept working hard. When we have had positive results we’ve kept our heads down and kept working hard. Nothing changes.

On the latest injury situation…

We haven’t got an update on Razza [Rhiannon Roberts] yet. Charlotte Wardlaw we will assess today and Melissa Lawley had a scan yesterday which was all clear and positive. We will see how Mel reacts on the pitch today but the result on the scan was good news for us.

On whether LFC Women will look to do business in the January transfer window…

We will and we are looking to get some players in. It’s an important window now we’ve got ourselves in a good position. We will only bring in the right player if they are available. We’ve got numerous targets we are looking at. Like we said in the summer, we felt we had good experience and quality in the squad. If I look at Hannah Silcock’s progress, she was unbelievable the other night against Manchester City. We’ve got a good squad here, we would like to improve it, but we will see what happens.

Published 9th December 2022