MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 10, 2015: Liverpool Ladies manager Matt Beard before the FA Women's Super League match against Manchester City at the Academy Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool turn to familiar face to fill long-vacant manager’s role

Liverpool are close to appointing a new women’s manager, almost four months after the departure of Vicky Jepson, with a familiar face expected back on Merseyside.

It came as a surprise when Jepson left the Reds in January, midway through the Women’s Championship campaign and over 10 years after she initially joined the club.

But her side was struggling, eight points off the top of the table after suffering relegation the previous season, and there has been an upturn of fortunes since her exit.

Under interim manager Amber Whiteley, Liverpool have won five, drawn two and lost two, and though they have missed out on promotion, spirits are lifted at Prenton Park, with Whiteley named Championship Manager of the Month for March.

Change seems to be coming, though, with The Athletic‘s Katie Whyatt claiming that Beard has beaten Whiteley to the permanent role, returning after six years away.

Beard was in charge of the Liverpool women’s side between 2012 and 2015, leading them to their first Women’s Super League title in 2013 and following that up with another the year after.

After spells with the Boston Breakers and West Ham, Beard has been covering for Bristol City manager Tanya Oxtoby during her maternity leave since January, but at the end of the season will be leaving the south west.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2013: Liverpool Ladies captain Gemma Bonner holding the Women's Super League trophy with manager Matt Beard as the team parade around at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whyatt reports that Liverpool are “finalising a contract” with the 43-year-old, having been joined on the “final shortlist” by Whiteley and a manager currently working in the Women’s Super League.

There are conflicting claims from BBC Sport’s Emma Sanders, however, who writes that a “final decision has still yet to be made by LFC.”

The Telegraph‘s Tom Garry even brings word from Beard himself, who when asked about the reports initially said “no comment” before insisting there is “no truth in the story.”

However, this is likely a deflection tactic due to his continued focus on matters with Bristol City between now and the end of the season, with two games to play as they look to avoid relegation.