LFC WomenMatt Beard column: What a talent Melissa Lawley is - she creates so much for us

Published 1st December 2022

In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard reflects on the cup win over Blackburn Rovers, talks about the form of winger Melissa Lawley and looks ahead to Sunday's home meeting with West Ham United in the Barclays Women's Super League.

It has been a good week for us after playing three games in seven days.

We took two points on the road in the WSL and then it was good to keep a clean sheet on Sunday and get another win to make it three wins out of three in the Continental League Cup so far.

It was a special day for our 18-year-old goalkeeper Faye Kirby, who kept a clean sheet on her debut and I was really pleased with her.

Hannah Silcock did well again and got 90 minutes, as did Carla Humphrey, Robey [Leighanne Robe] and Razza [Rhiannon Roberts]. So we got good minutes into everyone who hasn’t had that many minutes of late.

I thought there were some good performances both individually and as a team against Blackburn, and we also managed to keep players fresh going into what is a big week of training for us ahead of our next match against West Ham United.

Highlights: Liverpool FC Women 1-0 Blackburn Rovers

Razza did really well for us at right wing-back and has been playing well.

I had a chat with her just before the Reading game because she was a little bit unlucky at the start of the season, because she was having a really good pre-season before she got injured with her hip flex and groin on international duty.

Emma Koivisto has come in and done well for us in that position and has linked up well with Gilly Flaherty down that right side, so Razza has had to be patient.

Like I said to her in midweek, she is a valued member of my squad, she is working hard in training and having an impact in the games when she has come on.

She scored a great goal at Reading and should have had a penalty in stoppage time at Brighton. So we have been really pleased with her. That’s what we want – strong competition for places.

Melissa Lawley has been unplayable in recent games and what a talent she is. Just to see Mel playing with that smile on her face, I love her to pieces. She is a tough character but she is brilliant.

If you give her that ball, she is going to create things. We just need to try to give her the ball a bit earlier and give her the ball more because when she has that ball she is creating things left, right and centre for us.

I’m really pleased with what Mel is doing and it wouldn’t surprise me if England are monitoring her progress because she has been outstanding for us.

In terms of qualification for the knockout stages of the Conti Cup, only the group winners are assured of a place and then it’s the best runner-up out of all the groups.

We are in a good position and we have Manchester City in our final group game next Wednesday (December 7) at Prenton Park.

I would have thought because of the games both of us have got, City will use rotation as well. It would be great if we could see the group out with four wins.

We gave a good account of ourselves recently in the WSL away at City and were unlucky not to get anything out of the game.

The biggest thing for us will be just not to lose the game.

I’ll have a look at the other groups before we go into the game just to see what we need to do to get through because we would love a good run in this competition.

On Sunday we face my old team West Ham United in the WSL at Prenton Park (kick-off 2pm GMT) in a game that will be live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO. Our main focus is to try to get all three points.

Press Box: LFC Women special - Mel Lawley inspiration, skipper Missy Bo Kearns and WSL so far
28th November 2022

VideoPress Box: LFC Women special - Mel Lawley inspiration, skipper Missy Bo Kearns and WSL so farThe form of Melissa Lawley, goals of Katie Stengel and talented youngster Missy Bo Kearns were among the topics discussed by our panel on Press Box: LFC Women special, which is available to watch now on LFCTV GO.

I’ve had some good times at every club I’ve been at, but all I care about is Liverpool and making sure we pick up three points.

I have to say, former Liverpool player Paul Konchesky has done a great job as manager at West Ham.

I know he was the assistant there last season but it’s different when you become a manager, and I think he has a good, energetic and athletic team there and it’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination.

West Ham have had a good start to the season and I’ve been impressed with the job that Paul has done, but we’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and do as much as we can to try to win this game.

West Ham obviously have a familiar face who was popular with the Liverpool supporters in Kate Longhurst.

Kate is a fantastic character and she is a very versatile and good football player. When I signed her back in 2013, she was playing up front and I played her in midfield. She has been playing at centre-back this season for West Ham, and that just shows her maturity and versatility.

Kate is a winner and it will be great to see her after the game, but she is a West Ham player, a West Ham fan – hopefully we can ruin her return!

We need to start making Prenton Park a fortress again and getting some wins in the WSL. Each game at Prenton Park has been really close this season, I think, and this is such a tough league.

We know that we’ve got players in our team that can hurt the opposition and we’ve proved it over the course of the season.

We are in a run of games now where we have gone three games without defeat, so it’s important we keep that run going.

The big thing for me is we need to keep picking points up, so even if we can’t win the game we’ve got to make sure we take a point.

We’ve now got back-to-back home games in the WSL against West Ham and Leicester City, and if we could get the six points out of them that would be a great return for the first half of the season, especially with the way our injuries have panned out and the tough run of fixtures we have had.

Our captain Niamh Fahey is set to make her 100th appearance in her next game for Liverpool and what an amazing achievement that will be.

It’s not easy to make that amount of appearances at clubs in women’s football, especially as there’s only 12 teams in our division.

It’s an amazing achievement and Niamh helped us get promotion last season and then helped Ireland qualify for the World Cup, so what an amazing year she has had.

Niamh is an unbelievable professional, she’s a great character. I’m not giving my team away yet but when she plays her next game in a red shirt it will be a fantastic achievement. And the fact she is a Red as well, I think that is very fitting for her.

Thank you for your continued support as always.

YNWA,

Matt

Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter

Published 1st December 2022