Liverpool kickstarted preparations for their bid to return to the Women’s Super League on a winning note in their opening pre-season clash.
With the pandemic forcing the abandonment of the final games of the 2019/20 season, Liverpool FC Women found themselves relegated for the first time in their history after an average points-per-game ratio was used to determine the final standings.
Vicky Jepson’s side had won just one of their 14 games before the campaign was halted by the pandemic, sitting at the bottom of the table with six points.
And having been unable to fight their way out of the relegation spot after an upturn in performances, all focus is now on making a return at the first possible opportunity.
There were a notable number of departures in the form of Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Christie Murray and Anke Preuss, while a few new faces have arrived in turn in the shape of Taylor Hinds (Everton), Amalie Thestrup (Roma) and Rachael Laws (Reading).
The Reds started their pre-season training at the start of July ahead of a September return, which will come over six months after the team last played a competitive fixture.
And five pre-season friendlies, against Blackburn, Reading, Brighton, Coventry United and Man United, have been organised so far to get Liverpool back in the groove, and crucially to adjust to 3G pitches which are common in the Championship.
“We’ve got a good balance of challenges lined up to prepare us for the campaign ahead. There are teams who will sit in against us and others who will come at us,” Jepson told the club’s official website.
“I really wanted to play Coventry in an away game because they have the 3G pitch and there are five teams in the Championship who play on 3G, which we’ll face in our away games.”
The first of the five games saw Jepson’s side take to the field on Sunday against Blackburn, where they ran out 4-1 winners, according to BBC Sport‘s Emma Sanders.
All three of the club’s new signings are reported to have featured against their Championship rivals in what was a positive first step for the Reds as momentum will be key for the season ahead.
At this stage, they will play their remaining scheduled games in the next 20 days, starting with Reading (August 12), Brighton (August 16), Coventry (August 23) and Man United (August 30).
This leads up to the season opener on September 6 against Durham, before taking to the road to meet London Bees the following weekend, with the date yet to be confirmed.