Liverpool Women announce departure of Courtney Sweetman-Kirk amid uncertain WSL future

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Liverpool Women have confirmed the departure of Courtney Sweetman-Kirk following the expiration of the striker’s contract, in what could be the first of a handful of changes throughout the summer.

After two seasons leading the line for the Reds, Liverpool Women’s No. 9 has bid farewell to club after notching 14 goals following her switch from Everton in 2018.

The 29-year-old, who was a member of the first Women’s Super League fixture at Anfield in November, was one of the more experienced figures in what is a young Liverpool Women’s squad.

Formally of Leicester, Coventry, Lincoln Ladies and Doncaster Rovers prior to her spell on the blue half of Merseyside, Sweetman-Kirk has now left the club with immediate effect.

Upon the announcement, manager Vicky Jepson said: “I’d like to thank Courtney for her last two years at the club.

“Myself and all the backroom staff would like to wish her the very best of luck with the challenges ahead.”

Liverpool women's Courtney Sweetman-Kirk celebrates scoring her side's first goal of the game (John Walton/EMPICS Sport)

And there was equal gratitude from the striker herself when she posted a farewell message on her Twitter account.

“At the start of the year I decided to leave Liverpool Women FC, at the expiration of my contract at the start of May and after 2 seasons with the club,” Sweetman-Kirk said.

“I appreciate all the support I’ve been given, especially from the fans but it’s time for a change and a new environment that challenges me as a player and as a person.

“Can’t wait to have a ball at my feet, a smile on my face and be excited to train everyday…when we are allowed to play again!

“Excited to see what the future brings.”

The news comes amid the uncertainty of how the WSL is to conclude due to the pandemic, with Liverpool precariously placed in the division’s sole relegation spot after picking up six points from 14 games.

Earlier this week, the BBC reported that clubs in the top two tiers of women’s football are “assuming their season will not resume,”with neither division set to be provided with financial support to cater to safety protocols – but a final decision will not be made until a “formal consultation process concludes.”

All clubs are set to receive a letter from the FA seeking their views, with the board then to determine how the final placings will be decided should no further games be played.

Likewise, a decision on relegation from the WSL has yet to be reached – one which could have vast repercussions for the Reds.

They do, however, have cause for argument with Birmingham City sitting ahead of the Reds by only one point, whilst calling the league as is could question the integrity of the competition due to a fixture mismatch that sees teams having played anywhere between 59 and 72 percent of their season fixtures.

Brighton Manager Hope Powell had suggested that points per game without relegation would be the most “sensible” way to end the season, but there are hopes the way forward is set to become clearer over the coming days and weeks.

All the best for the future, Courtney!

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