LFC WomenMatt Beard reaction: Final-day defeat, farewells and reasons for optimism
Matt Beard felt it was a case of fine margins at both ends of the pitch as his Liverpool FC Women side finished 2022-23 with a narrow 1-0 loss to Manchester United.
United substitute Lucia Garcia netted the only goal of Saturday’s Barclays Women’s Super League contest to deny the Reds at Prenton Park, with Beard’s team ending their first campaign back in the top division in seventh place.
Post-match, the manager told Liverpoolfc.com: “We did OK, I felt with and without the ball we weren’t as good as we have been of late, but we defended well overall apart from two moments when we switched off defensively and one of them was the goal.
“I don’t think we necessarily deserved to lose and we did have some good chances through Emma Koivisto and Razza [Rhiannon Roberts] at the end.”
Overall, Beard declared himself satisfied with how the season has panned out and feels improvement has been shown by his team.
“It has been a long season and I’m pleased with what we achieved improving as a team,” he added. “We have beaten two out of the top four sides here at Prenton Park this season and not many teams do that, so we have done OK.
“We had numerous issues injury-wise, which I think had a big impact in most of the season. It’s little things like players only being available for certain minutes, it has been a tough year on that front, especially at the top end of the pitch.
“But we can be pleased with what we have achieved. Not many teams who come up from the FA Women’s Championship finish seventh in the WSL. If you look at Manchester United who were fighting for the title, it has taken them four years to get to this point.
“From our end it’s about bridging that gap again next season and making sure we improve on this year.”
It was an emotional day at Prenton Park as supporters paid tribute to seven players who will depart the club this summer: Ashley Hodson, Rylee Foster, Leighanne Robe, Rhiannon Roberts, Megan Campbell, Carla Humphrey and Charlotte Clarke.
Special presentations were made ahead of kick-off, and Wales international Roberts came close to what would have been a perfect send-off when she fired a late chance over the top of the bar from close range.
Beard added: “That would have been amazing had Razza scored that one near the end, but every single one of those players have been great servants to this football club.
“They are always tough decisions but at the same time we need to think about the individuals as well, and Razza and Robey want to play week in, week out, and I can’t necessarily offer that.
“They have been great servants, they have been through the highs and lows of relegation and promotion, and what a way for them to finish with us consolidating back in the WSL.”