Press conference: Matt Beard on Tottenham clash, injury latest and more

LFC WomenPress conference: Matt Beard on Tottenham clash, injury latest and more

Published 10th March 2023
By Steve Hunter

Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard held a pre-match press conference on Friday morning ahead of Sunday's Barclays Women's Super League home clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Beard was quizzed on several topics as he previewed the game at Prenton Park, which kicks off at 2pm GMT.

Read the key points from his media briefing below...

On the snow and whether this could affect Sunday’s game going ahead…

Obviously we have had a lot of snow overnight. We are in talks with the Tranmere Rovers groundstaff but I’ve got no update on that as we speak. The weather forecast is looking promising I guess with a bit of rain, but there is a lot of snow up here at the moment.

On whether it’s a plus there is a game so quickly coming up after the midweek defeat at Arsenal, and whether any players might be back available…

It was a tough game the other night. Watching it back we did OK in certain moments. On the transition when we won the ball back we needed to be better than we were.

We have got no-one back for the weekend and we’ve got the same squad that we had at Arsenal. The positive is, though, everyone got through that game OK and the players that were on restricted minutes won’t be on that again on Sunday. So that gives me a little bit more flexibility in the starting XI and I guess what system we decide to play. On the injury front, yes it’s really frustrating, but it is a game we are looking forward to. We like playing at Prenton Park so it’s going to be an interesting afternoon.

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On the chance to put things right, especially after their last home game against Leicester City…

We want to win every game we play in. If you look at the Leicester game they had one real chance and scored and we had numerous chances. Sometimes that happens in football. There’s still plenty of points to play for and there’s still plenty of games we’ve got so we are not going to put everything just on one game.

We know Sunday is a big game because we are at home. Tottenham are on a run of form I guess they are desperate to put right, but when you are in that form sometimes it’s tough to get out of it. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves in the sense of what we want to do and how we want to play. Hopefully that will be enough for us on the day.

On how frustrating the women’s schedule is and whether he feels it needs looking at…

Yes. We finished 2022 with a Continental Cup game on December 7 and then we didn’t play again until January 15 so that is a big break. We have had another month off this time so it is frustrating. We were on a good run before Christmas and we were picking points up and then it’s been stop-start since then. Yes, it maybe needs to be looked at but we can’t change it and we’ve just got to get on with it.

On the latest injury updates…

Mel Lawley has had a hip issue for a while. We were hoping during the international break we could get it settled down and get it sorted, but every time she turns there is a pinch in the hip. We’ve had a couple of different scans and she has also seen the specialist at the AXA Training Centre as well to get to the bottom of it. So, there’s no timescale on Mel at the moment.

Razza [Rhiannon Roberts] has concussion so she is going through the concussion protocol now. Shanice [van de Sanden] is probably two weeks away, Jasmine Matthews has got a hip problem but she isn’t a million miles away, and hopefully Niamh Fahey will be back for the Everton game. We are getting there but it has been a frustrating period on that front.

On whether he has to do anything different with the squad because of the number of injuries to key players…

No, the squad is fine and the squad is together. I think you could see from our second-half performance at Arsenal, we’ve just got to stick together, so there’s nothing I need to do differently or the players need to do differently. We just need to turn up every day, do what we always do and prepare for the games as best as we can. Everyone is in good spirits and we are in a better position than some of the teams below us so I’m not worried and I’ve never been worried.

In two weeks’ time we will have these players back fit and available so competition for places will be there. We’ve got a run of games where we feel we can pick up points between now and the end of the season, so we are not worried and we are in a good place. It’s tough to go to Arsenal with your best XI, never mind a depleted squad. We did OK the other night but we could have done better with the ball and put more crosses in maybe a bit earlier than we did.

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On it being an opportunity for players who haven’t had as many minutes as others to impress…

Definitely. You’ve just got to look at Leighanne Robe’s performance the other night – I thought she was excellent. She has been very patient and Robey took that opportunity. So, from that perspective it does give other players opportunities to stake a claim.

On how he assesses January signings Fuka Nagano, Sofie Lundgaard and Miri Taylor so far…

They have settled in really well. Sofie unfortunately was ill and had the flu coming back from international duty. Sofie may have started at Arsenal had she been fully fit. Miri has been brilliant. She has got an infectious personality and she is a good player. When she first came in she picked up one or two niggles at the start so she was a bit unlucky. All the new signings have settled in really well. Fuka has been fantastic for us. It was her birthday yesterday and you can see she is well loved in the dressing room. We are pleased with how everyone is settling in.

On the unfortunate 1-0 loss to Tottenham earlier this season and what lessons he can take from the game…

Take your chances! It was a game of two halves and that has probably been a big part of how this season has been for us. We just need to make sure when we get into good positions we take our chances because that was our Achilles heel against Leicester for us. Against West Ham and Reading we did take our chances when they came. We have to make sure we make the right decisions when we do get into the right areas and score.

Published 10th March 2023