Liverpool FC Women kick off the new Women’s Super League 1 campaign against Arsenal on Sunday, with a host of new faces set to take centre stage.
It has been an off-season of vast changes for Liverpool with Neil Redfearn appointed as the new manager in place of Scott Rogers, 12 players signing on the dotted line and a name change to boot.
With such a drastic overhaul both on and off the field following a mass exodus of talent, outside expectations are likely to be tempered ahead of the extended Women’s Super League 1 campaign.
The new look WSL 1 season will see 11 clubs fight for the crown—with West Ham and Brighton making the step up to the top flight—where the Reds will be eager to improve on last term’s sixth-placed finish.
With Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal having comfortably led the way last season—and the Reds without a finish inside the top three since 2014—Redfearn would have been eager to see his new signings quickly settle amongst those he inherited over the summer—and early indications suggest there is nothing to fear on that front.
Redfearn has signed experienced professionals in key positions throughout the summer and reunited with a host of his former players from Doncaster Rover Belles.
Defensive trio Leandra Little—named club captain—Rhiannon Roberts and Sophie Bradley-Auckland have made the switch alongside proven goalscorer Courtney Sweetman-Kirk.
The new-look Reds appear to have a squad worth getting excited for, with a mix of youth and experience—where five players capped at the senior international level were also brought into the fold.
Liverpool’s league season kicks off against the third-placed side from last term in Arsenal, and the Reds will no doubt be looking to make an early statement of intent against one of the title contenders after falling to two successive 3-0 defeats to the north London side in the league earlier this year.
Three of the next four fixtures make good reading for Liverpool with games against the league’s two newcomers and last term’s cellar dwellers, Yeovil Town, offering an early opportunity to get points on the board.
Subsequent games resulted in defeat at the hands of German outfit SGS Essen and Blackburn Rovers.
Amid the friendlies, Liverpool opened their campaign with an early group fixture in the Continental Tyres Cup against old foes Man United on August 19, which saw nine former Reds come face-to-face with their old employers after joining the newly established club over the summer.
Liverpool FC Women Squad
Goalkeepers: Anke Preuss
Defenders: Leandra Little (C), Sophie Bradley-Auckland (VC), Jasmine Matthews, Rhiannon Roberts, Satara Murray, Leighanne Robe
Midfielders: Niamh Fahey, Laura Coombs, Christie Murray, Ashley Hodson, Amy Rodgers
Forwards: Jess Clarke, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Rinsola Babajide, Niamh Charles, Yana Daniels, Kirsty Linnett, Simran Jhamat, Annabel Blanchard
The game ended in a 1-0 defeat for the Reds, but the team showed enough to suggest that plenty of wins will be put on the board across the course of the season.
While Liverpool will not be expected to make a title charge this season, there is potential to mount a successful cup run in either the FA Cup or League Cup after reaching the quarter-final stage in each competition last time out.
Liverpool’s opening WSL 1 fixture will be shown live on BBC Red Button on Sunday, September 9, with kickoff at 12.30pm (BST). You can view their full fixture list here.