Vicky Jepson insisted her Liverpool FC Women players should be proud of their performance in Sunday’s Merseyside derby defeat.

In the first Women’s Super League game ever to be staged at Anfield, the Reds had the upper hand for long periods but were beaten by a Lucy Graham strike in first-half stoppage-time.

Liverpool boss Jepson took satisfaction from the manner of her team’s encouraging display, however, and the support of a 23,500 crowd at the stadium.

Read her post-match reaction below…

On the result and her pride about Liverpool’s performance…

It hurts more when you’ve been the best team on the day. We were definitely the best team on that pitch; one poor shot they had has ended up going in the back of the net with a mistake from our goalkeeper, which I know Anke is absolutely devastated about. But the performance was outstanding. They were never going to score unless that goal was given to them and the amount of opportunities we created here was fantastic. The crowd was incredible, getting behind our women’s team. I was really pleased to see that. Obviously I’m going to hurt a little bit because it’s a derby game I did not want to lose – and neither did the girls. But if we look at the bigger picture, we certainly put on a good performance for our fans.

On the support Anke Preuss will receive from the squad…

The first thing she said to me after the huddle was to apologise for her mistake. But ‘keepers do make mistakes and their mistakes are highlighted more than anybody else’s on the pitch. I know she’ll be gutted because she’s had top form so far this season. It’s just unfortunate it’s here at Anfield. They were never going to score if she hadn’t made that mistake, so it’s tough for her to take. But we’ll make sure we lift her up, we’ll be tight together. [It was] a really promising performance. We’ve got to hold our heads high and move on because we’ve got Blackburn on Wednesday night.

On her message to the players…

We can’t dwell. Today we’ve got time to feel sorry for ourselves and reflect on what we could have done better. But come tomorrow, we’ve got to focus on Blackburn, we don’t get much time. The Wednesday and Thursday night games come at the right time for us to switch off from this and focus on the next one.

On the 23,500 crowd in attendance at Anfield…

The big celebration behind the loss today is that the crowd were incredible – 23,000 here to support us. Hopefully we’ve given the crowd something to be proud of because the performance was there. We’ve got a very young squad and they competed right to the level we expected. So I am really proud of the players and I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to try to pick them up and move on to the next game.

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Match report: LFC Women edged out in Merseyside derby at Anfield