A touch early this week because of a little thing called International Women’s Day, our final team preview for the FA WSL 2013 season looks at one of the close season’s big movers and shakers, Liverpool Ladies FC.
Liverpool Ladies FC
Manager – Mark Beard
Appointed prior to the summer break in 2012, Mark Beard’s track record in women’s football is exemplary, having previously managed Charlton Athletic Women FC, Millwall Lionesses and latterly Chelsea, whom he led to the FA Women’s Cup final in 2012. Having had a half season to assess his charges, Beard has made wholesale changes to the Liverpool squad in the close season.
Last Time Out – 8th
Finishing bottom of the WSL for the second successive season, Liverpool’s paltry 5 points saw the team score just 15 goals and concede a massive 35, 9 more than the second leakiest defence.
Having signed 13 players since last season, picking out the star player in the Liverpool squad is a mix of assumptions and pure guesswork. The signing of Fara WIlliams from bitter rivals Everton, though, looks to be a masterstroke with the midfielder offering a genuine goal threat and the experience of more than 100 international caps to a midfield that was frequently overrun in the 2012 season.
Undoubtedly, the 2012 season exposed significant weaknesses in the Liverpool defence, with the team giving up an average of 2.5 goals per game. The signings of Whitney Engen and Gemma Bonner in the backline and a new ‘keeper in the form of ex-Chelsea stopper, Sarah Quantrill, ought to mean a meaner and more composed Liverpool defence going into a critical season for the red half of the Mersey.
Home vs. Everton Ladies, 23/03/2013 (Continental Cup)
Wholesale changes to the first team squad and a first full season for the new manager makes this a difficult call. Yet Mark Beard seems to have done some canny business in his major signings and the acquisition of Fara Williams and Natasha Dowie in particular look like shrewd signings for a team previously lacking firepower and star talent. Despite Dowie’s recent proclamations, a title challenge looks well out of the question. Steady improvement and the ability to draw themselves away from the bottom spot of the league must be considered improvement enough for this year.