Matt Beard previews Merseyside derby: 'We know what this fixture means'

LFC WomenMatt Beard previews Merseyside derby: 'We know what this fixture means'

By Joe Urquhart


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Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard says his team are looking to right the wrongs against Everton in Friday night's Merseyside derby.

The Reds make the short trip to Goodison Park in Barclays Women’s Super League action for the 7.30pm GMT kick-off.

Liverpool were beaten 3-0 at Anfield in the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign, and will be looking to earn bragging rights on away soil this time around.

Beard wants his charges to embrace the occasion across Stanley Park, hoping they can give their travelling supporters something to cheer about.

Read on for the key points from his pre-match media briefing below...

Training photos: LFC Women step up preparations for Merseyside derby

GalleryTraining photos: LFC Women step up preparations for Merseyside derbyLiverpool FC Women are continuing their preparations for Friday night's Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park - check in with our photo gallery from today's training session.

On the feeling within the squad ahead of the game…

The atmosphere has been great. We’ve put a lot of work in on the training ground and we’ve had a few bodies back this week as well, which has been great just for the bench and competition for places. It was a big win against Tottenham, it’s been a great mood and we’re looking forward to tomorrow night now.

On what he learned from the defeat at Anfield in the reverse fixture…

I think we tried to prepare the team as best we could in a sense of going to Anfield the day before, getting familiar with the dressing room and the walk out onto the pitch. But when you walk out to You’ll Never Walk Alone at Anfield in front of 28,000 people, it’s completely different than what it is at Prenton Park, when we’re generally getting 2,500 at the game. I think you could see in the first-half performance it affected us slightly. I thought second half we did a lot better, but we became too open at the back end of the game trying to chase it. It’s a catch-22 because obviously you want to win these types of games playing in the club’s main stadium, but we’ve become too open at the back end of the game trying to chase it. The learning from that will live with us because we know what we need to do on Friday night. The pressure will be reversed onto Everton playing at Goodison. We’re looking forward to the occasion and I think from our perspective we learned a lot that night. We’re looking forward to hopefully putting the wrongs of that night right on Friday.

On the latest team news in his squad…

Unfortunately, Mel [Lawley] broke down after training on Monday. [Niamh] Fahey and [Natasha] Dowie will still be out, and Leanne [Kiernan] is now progressing really well, so we’re hoping Leanne will be back post-international break with the team training and then fit for games at the back end of April. Everyone else should be back after the international break, so we’ll have a fully-fit squad to choose from. Shanice is back in the squad, which has been great. It’s been great to have her back on the training pitch because she’s such an infectious person as well. We’re looking in good shape.

On whether his squad have 'revenge' on their mind…

I wouldn’t say revenge. We know what this fixture means to the club and the supporters. We would love to give our supporters the bragging rights. I think from the lessons we learned that night at Anfield, we can definitely put into practice, but form goes out the window in the derby games anyway. Everton haven’t won in the last four games and haven’t scored a goal in the last four games, but when it comes down to a Merseyside derby, I don’t think that will have any effect on it because it is the passion. I think whoever stays in control emotionally tomorrow night will end up out on top.

On how different the squads are compared to the first meeting…

We’ve obviously had to adapt to the players we’ve had available at certain times this year with the formations that we’ve played. If you look at Everton, they have played a 3-4-3 and just of late they’ve played 4-3-3 quite a lot. They’ve made changes in January, and obviously in the summer, and this is a tough league, so I think there’s no easy games and you have to be performing week in, week out. Maybe Everton’s inconsistencies over the last few months will be because of that, and it’s the same with us. We’ve been really unlucky with losing players to injury, especially at the top end of the pitch. We’ve found ourselves constantly having to adapt or change to that and I feel because of that it’s probably put more pressure on the players tactically.

In an ideal world what you want to try to do is have a formation that you’ve mastered and that you’re comfortable with and have the ability to change if you need to. We’ve not really been able to do that this year. I think we’ve mastered the 3-5-2 now because we’ve played that a lot just of late and we’ve changed in games to that to see them out at times. We’ve played that system a lot and it’s worked well for us. But if you look at our January recruitment, we really wanted to go back to a 4-3-3 because we felt we had the personnel to do that. We had wingers in Mel Lawley, Shanice van de Sanden, you’ve got Yana Daniels, who is different to them as a wide player, Miri Taylor came in with that in mind because she played there in America and can play in midfield. But then we lost Shanice and lost Mel, so we’ve been a bit unlucky with that.

From our perspective, we’ve had a lot of challenges from who has been available, and I think we just want a bit of consistency now. Hopefully when we get the next two games out the way, we’ll have a fully-fit squad to choose from and have the ability to do what we wanted in January.



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