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Liverpool’s “desire” to support Women’s side questioned

Liverpool have seen their “desire” to support their women’s side questioned by a report detailing the sheer gulf in support between them and the men’s first team.

From the outside in, the disparity between Liverpool’s position in the Premier League and the Women’s Super League could not be wider.

Jurgen Klopp‘s first team are sitting top of the table, having taken 82 points from their first 29 games, leaving them 25 points clear of Man City and six away from clinching the title.

Meanwhile, the women’s side are bottom, facing relegation to the Championship having won just one and lost 10 of their 14 games so far; they are 34 points adrift of City.

And in a scathing report from The Athletic‘s Sarah Shephard, a lack of support for the women’s side is claimed.

Shephard’s starting point is that, with Liverpool set to move into their new £50 million training ground at Kirkby later this year, there is no place for Vicky Jepson’s squad.

Instead they are set to remain in their place as, how one source describes it to Shephard, “effectively Tranmere Women, playing at Tranmere’s ground, training at Tranmere’s ground.”

“They’re being looked after a lot more by Tranmere than they are by Liverpool,” they claim, “which is not right at all when you look at the two clubs and the fact they are Liverpool Women not Tranmere Women.”

Among the issues Shephard’s report claims are:

  • No place for the women’s side at Liverpool’s new Kirkby facility
  • No strength and conditioning coach at the start of the season
  • Beyond their initial flight, pre-season tour to the US saw them travel, stay and train away from the first team
  • Played developmental sides not at their standard in US friendlies, impacting their season’s form
  • Until recently players were permitted to travel separately to away games
  • Players had been housed in “really bad student digs” accommodation until late 2018

However, This Is Anfield understands Liverpool FC strongly dispute these claims, pointing out that they were the first Premier League side to send their women’s team on tour with the men’s on pre-season and that the Women recently played at Anfield.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Monday, July 22, 2019: Liverpool's manager Vicky Jepson speaks to her players at half-time during a friendly match between Liverpool FC Women and Metropolitan Conference All Stars at Jordan Field at the Harvard Stadium on day seven of the club's pre-season tour of America. Liverpool won 6-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is claimed that Phil Neville “rarely watches” Liverpool, with another source telling Shephard that players are seen as “not visible” on an international level – which is again disputed by LFC, highlighting that Neville was at LFC Women’s last match, vs. Arsenal, and that they have five senior internationals and several in younger age groups.

Liverpool’s Women’s players now have the option of living in luxury waterfront flats overlooking the Mersey and many of them choose to do so, so Shephard’s point on old ‘digs’ is somewhat irrelevant.

Finally, Liverpool say that future plans for LFC Women are considered at highest level in the club and options remain open regarding Kirkby.

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