LFC WomenMatt Beard column: Merseyside derby preview and positive injury news
In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard looks ahead to Friday night's Barclays Women's Super League Merseyside derby with Everton at Goodison Park.
It’s derby week on Merseyside and we are certainly looking forward to it, especially after our great win against Tottenham Hotspur in our last game.
The brilliant news is we have got Jasmine Matthews, Melissa Lawley and Shanice van de Sanden all back in training, and that is such a fantastic boost for everyone. It’s positive news and it has been a good week for us. We can’t wait for Friday now.
What the return of these players gives us is the ability to potentially change games and change the system if we need to.
Obviously I was pleased with the performance against Tottenham, but our squad is getting stronger again and it’s great to have them back.
Fingers crossed there are no reactions over the course of the week and they will all be available for selection on Friday night.
Inside Prenton Park: LFC Women 2-1 Tottenham
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If you look at our bench against Tottenham, we only had four outfield players. So for us to potentially go with the likes of Mel and Shanice, they can make a difference and change games.
In the Tottenham game, Miri Taylor came on and played up front, and Sofie Lundgaard played further forward too. So it just gives us a bit more strength in depth and also keeps players in their natural positions, rather than just having to do a job for the team.
We head to Goodison Park on Friday night with confidence and we are eager to perform and do well on the big stage (kick-off 7.30pm GMT).
The game against Everton at Anfield earlier this season was a disappointing one for us and maybe the occasion got the better of us.
Being a Merseyside derby and being at Anfield live on Sky Sports, it was a big occasion, so I think there were lots of things that night that had an effect on us at the start of the game.
I felt in the first half we did freeze a little bit. In the second half we did a lot better but then we became too open and it was the 3-0 scoreline that we were frustrated with. But we can definitely learn from that experience.
We’ve now got to play at Goodison Park in front of a crowd of probably 25,000 to 30,000 people, so hopefully they will feel the same effect that we did when we played against them at Anfield.
It will be a tough game for both teams. They are a good side and I like their manager, Brian Sorensen. I think Everton are very methodical in the way that they play and they have had a lot of changes – obviously the new manager coming in the summer and lots of changes throughout.
They have had a good season. They have been a little bit up and down as of late but they are a good team, they play good football and they’ve got players who can hurt you. They are well organised and disciplined.
All these things go out of the window in a Merseyside derby, though, as it is the passion of a derby. I’ve been involved in enough of these games over the years with Liverpool to know the team that can stay in control generally is the team that comes out on top.
I’ve been impressed with Everton and Brian this season but from our perspective I really want to make sure we get the bragging rights for our supporters.
We’ve just got to go out there and play with no fear. I think we are in a good position in the WSL table and we’ve got a good run of games between now and the end of April where I feel we can fulfil our potential.
We are starting to get a fully-fit squad back again and, all of a sudden, competition for places increases, so people are playing for their places. We just want our players to play with no fear and go out and express themselves.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter