LFC WomenMatt Beard column: Goal machine Kiernan and an important message
In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard discusses the goalfest at Blackburn Rovers, the six-minute hat-trick from Leanne Kiernan, and Sunday's home meeting with Watford.
It was the perfect way for us to start 2022 with a brilliant performance at Blackburn Rovers. It was a nice way to celebrate my birthday and thank you so much for all the nice messages. But more importantly we kept our winning momentum at the top of the FA Women’s Championship.
I thought we were excellent on Sunday, especially in the second half. We looked at a few clips at half-time to show the girls where the spaces are and we could hurt them, so that was really pleasing.
We were so disciplined and dominant. The pitch was really heavy and we only managed a week’s training leading up to the game due to a few COVID-19 cases previously, which meant we missed out on a few sessions. Thankfully, none of the girls were really ill from it but we have to follow guidelines, and safety and health is of prime importance.
Taking everything into consideration, we scored some superb goals. Leanne’s goal where she fired it into the top corner is just a great individual goal, Furney’s was a great team goal.
Highlights: Blackburn 0-6 LFC Women
Leanne scored a six-minute hat-trick for us, which is some feat. The great thing about Leanne is her other two goals were instinctive finishes, typical No.9 finishes. She can score all types of goals – in the box, outside the box, with her head.
I’m just delighted for her. It was good that she got the hat-trick because it meant I could get Katie Stengel on a bit sooner for her debut. We are managing Leanne’s fitness just to make sure we get a 100 per cent Leanne Kiernan fit and firing for us.
When we came back in, the first thing we spoke about was, ‘Look, we haven’t achieved anything yet.’ In the first part of the season we were setting ourselves points targets and, like I’ve said since I’ve been back, it’s just about being around the top.
Now we are in a position to just take it game by game, and after Blackburn we are going to be focusing purely on Watford now.
The other good thing was London City Lionesses and Durham didn’t play last weekend, so that’s going to put them under a little bit of pressure now and we’ve got a bit of daylight with a five-point lead. But as I said, we will continue to take each game as it comes and take it from there.
I also want to highlight Missy Bo Kearns, who was outstanding for us on Sunday. Since Missy Bo came back from the England U23s camp after scoring the hat-trick, she has had a different spring in her step.
She got herself into some great positions on Sunday and was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet. Her use of the ball was excellent and we know all about her qualities from set-play deliveries.
We have to remember she is still a very young player and she has had a few ups and downs over the course of the first part of the season. That’s to be expected from young players but all I can say is she has been fantastic. Against Burnley in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, she was excellent when she came off the bench at half-time and she has carried that into the Blackburn game.
It will be nice to be back at Prenton Park in front of our own fantastic supporters on Sunday when we host Watford. We’ve just got to keep doing what we are doing. We are a talented team, we are playing well and are in a good moment.
We are 15 games unbeaten and the pleasing thing is we are scoring from open play, we are scoring from set-plays on a regular basis – and we can add the long throws of Megan Campbell into the mix now as well. We are a real threat going forward.
My message, though, is simple: we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, we’ve got to keep working hard in training and keep it going. Nothing has been achieved yet. We are focused on Watford. We are at home with our fans and we will do as much as we can to win that game.
Thanks so much for your support as always.
Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter