Our first monthly round-up on the LFC Ladies arrives with the Reds top of the League entering the international break for the Euros.
An Introduction to Liverpool Ladies
The FA Women’s Super League is currently on a two month break due to July’s European Championships in Sweden. Before the break Liverpool Ladies were off to a flying start in the league, already surpassing the previous two seasons points tally’s in just 6 games.
All credit for this must go to manager Matt Beard, who was brought in midway through the 2012 season in a bid to change the reds fortunes. After overseeing the ladies finishing bottom for the 2nd consecutive year Beard quickly set about overhauling the squad. Boosted by funding from the club, Liverpool’s starting 11 was completely changed over the course of the winter off season – with just a handful of players remaining from last years squad. We now boast some of the UK and Europe’s most promising talent along with established internationals.
Top of the League
Liverpool began June with a short trip to Marine FC in Crosby for a mid-week derby against Everton. During the transfer window Liverpool raided the Everton squad signing no less than 4 of their players. Back in March in the first derby game against the Blues since our overhaul we were unlucky to be held to a draw despite the teams inexperience in playing together.
Fast forward a couple of months and we faced our Merseyside rivals again looking for our first FAWSL victory over them. There was no holding back this time as we thumped them 4-1, with 4 different goal scorers. After a nervy start from both teams Liverpool were quickest to settle, German midfielder Nicole Rolser capitalising on this after a scramble in the box to put us 1-0 up. Everton came out revitalised after half time and equalised on the counter attack through their captain Jill Scott, Everton‘s joy was however to be short lived. Impressive Swede Louise Fors sent Liverpool back in front with a great strike from the edge of the 18 yard box, Corina Schroder and Natasha Dowie bagging the 3rd and 4th goals to complete the rout.
In our final game before the break we welcomed Birmingham City to our home ground Halton Stadium in Widnes. For the second time in a week we put 4 goals against a team in blue, Nicole Rolser once again opening the scoring before Birmingham pegged us back by a goal. Shortly before half time Lucy Bronze, producing her best performance so far in a red shirt in place of absent skipper Gemma Bonner, made sure we went in at half time 2-1 up – heading home a powerful header from a corner. After the break Natasha Dowie took herself into double figures with her 10th goal of the campaign and Rolser added her second and our fourth. Final score Liverpool Ladies 4-1 Birmingham City.
These two victories ensured Liverpool Ladies will go into the second half of the season in an unprecedented first place. We top the league table ahead of Bristol Academy on goal difference, yet we are still to play Bristol home and away in fixtures that could possibly determine this years title winners. Arsenal are also a well established team in Women’s Football who you can never write off, they have won the Women’s Super League in both it’s previous two seasons. Arsenal currently lie in 5th place on 7 points to our 15, with 2 games in hand and facing us in the first league fixture back after the break at Halton on 4th August.
International Reds – Euro 2013
Four Liverpool Ladies have received call ups to represent their countries at Euro 2013, the tournament kicks off on the 10th July with the final to be played on the 28th July.
100+ capped midfielder Fara Williams and previously uncapped duo Gemma Bonner and Lucy Bronze will be part of the England squad looking to go all the way to the final again. England were beaten 6-2 by Germany in 2009’s final, the scoreline was an unfair reflection on the Lionesses performance. Natasha Dowie, our’s and the league’s leading goalscorer, inexplicably missed out on a spot despite her fine performances for us this year. England manager Hope Powell instead opting for experience and taking Kelly Smith, the Arsenal forward yet to play in 2013.
Also not receiving a call up was Louise Fors, our Swedish international who has produced some eye catching displays for Liverpool on the left wing. These have somehow gone unnoticed by the host nations head coach Pia Sundhage.
Icelandic midfielder Katrin Ómarsdóttir then the fourth and final LFC player going to Sweden. Katrin has been capped over 50 times for Iceland, who have endured a tough start to 2013 losing 6 games out of 7 played. They also face a tough group including 2009 winners Germany.
The group fixtures for Iceland and England are as follows:
Thursday 11th July, Iceland v Norway 5PM KO
Sunday 14th July, Iceland v Germany 7:30PM
Wednesday 17th July, Iceland v Holland 5PM
Friday 12th July, England v Spain 7:30PM
Monday 15th July, England v Russia 5PM
Thursday 18th July, England v France 7:30PM
All England games will be broadcast live on BBC2 or BCC3, with exact scheduling yet to be announced. There will also be extensive highlights on BBC3 throughout the tournament.
Thanks for reading the first Liverpool Ladies monthly round up. There has been a vast improvement in the quality of Women’s Football in England over the last couple of years and Liverpool Ladies are taking huge strides in the Women’s game. I will be providing these monthly updates for This Is Anfield on the Ladies progress this season and on our title charge. In the mean time if you wish to be kept up to date on a more daily basis with news from the side, you can follow my twitter @LFCLadiesFans.