LFC WomenMatt Beard: Derby won't define our season but we must learn from it

Published 28th September 2022

In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard reflects on the Merseyside derby and looks ahead to Sunday's trip to Sunderland in the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup.

It was a tough day for us on Sunday against Everton and there is no getting away from that.

I watched the game back again when I got home on Sunday night and I got a few things wrong on the night and that’s something I’ve got to take on the chin.

Credit to Everton, they played well, but I got it wrong and that’s the be all and end all. I just felt we never got going and I can’t put my finger on the performance because it was very uncharacteristic from us.

If I had the time back before the game then, yes, I would change one or two things the way we set up. We looked scared to get on the ball, we were frightened to try to move the opposition.

I don’t want to use the fact that we were playing at Anfield as an excuse and the pressure that comes with that, because at the end of the day these are the types of things that we have to adapt to and get used to.

I knew before we started the campaign that over the course of this season there are going to be highs and there are going to be lows because of the calibre of the opposition we are playing week in, week out – and that’s no disrespect to the teams in the FA Women’s Championship.

We are up a level now. Obviously we had a great performance against Chelsea, an inconsistent one against Everton, but it won’t define our season.

We have to learn from it, though, and we have to learn from the occasion of playing at Anfield and stadiums like that.

Inside Anfield: Behind the scenes of the women's derby

I know the players will regroup and go again – I’ve got no doubt in my mind about that. But it’s those little moments we need to make sure we get right should we play there again.

We certainly had some moments that could have changed the game with great chances to score through Katie Stengel and Ceri Holland in the first half, and then a few at the end with Yana Daniels at the far post.

Everton had better possession than us, they scored two goals on the counter-attack and the other one was from a set-play.

We did create chances but I think the biggest thing in football is, and at the top level, if you don’t take your chances when they come, potentially you get punished. That’s what happened to us at Anfield.

We now head to Sunderland for the FA Women’s Continental Tyres Cup (kick-off 11.30am BST at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground) and I’ll be able to look after the players who are heading off on international duty after the game.

This gives me the ideal opportunity to give minutes to players who haven’t played as many minutes as they would have liked so far. Robey [Leighanne Robe], Eartha Cumings, Carla Humphrey, Charlotte Wardlaw and Furney [Rachel Furness] and Yana could get more minutes under their belt.

I see it as an opportunity now for shirts to be claimed. This cup game has come at the right time for us in the sense of balancing the minutes, especially with the international break.

There are some big games coming up for the likes of Wales during this international break, so we need to make sure that our players go away fresh because after the last one Ceri Holland and Rhiannon Roberts had a few issues.

Everyone has been working incredibly hard in training. When you lose a game, you want to see reactions and this definitely gives other people an opportunity to stake a claim going forward.

There are no easy games in the Barclays Women’s Super League. After the international break, we’ve got Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester City – but this is what we want, this is where we are. We’ve got to take confidence from how we have been doing.

We can’t just let one night affect 16 months of what has been really, really positive for us.

Thanks so much for your support.

YNWA,

Matt

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

Published 28th September 2022