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Buying goals & beating rivals – How LFC Women defied the odds in 2023/24

Liverpool FC Women proved a revelation in 2023/24, exceeding all expectations to finish above Man United and only nine points adrift from an unlikely European place.

If you turn the clock back a year, the Reds had just concluded their first season back in the Women’s Super League, finishing seventh on 23 points.

Now, they have just seen the curtains fall on a campaign that few would have expected to see from them having nearly doubled their points tally to finish fourth with 41 points.

A negative goal difference of -15 was transformed into +8 as Matt Beard’s side set themselves a new benchmark in a year that has seen the club finally invest in the team.

 

Progress and momentum

WALSALL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 3, 2024: Liverpool's Emma Koivisto (2nd from R) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the third goal during the FA Women’s Super League match between Aston Villa FC Women and Liverpool FC Women at the Bescot Stadium. Liverpool won 4-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

From seventh to fourth with an 18-point turnaround, Beard’s side transformed before our eyes this season.

What was a leaky defence turned into one capable of restricting the opposition – Man City and Chelsea proved the only real exceptions to the rule – and goals were easier to come by.

In all competitions, the Reds failed to score in only five matches, a significant improvement on the 12 of the previous campaign – which played its part in failing to win a league match on the road in 2022/23.

This time around, the Reds won six of their away league games to see them finish with the third-best record on the road – quite the turnaround!

Seven new signings injected new energy, Sophie Roman Haug added goals and Marie Hobinger proved just as deadly with both goals and assists – while big wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Man United offer plenty of promise for 2024/25.

 

Making the team feel at home

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, September 29, 2023: Liverpool's Emma Koivisto during an open taining session at the AXA Melwood Training Centre ahead of the Women's Super League opening fixture between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Away from performances on the pitch, it has been a significant year in the development of the women’s team after seeing Melwood become their new training base.

Beard’s side moved into their new home in September and have not looked back since, offering the players and the staff the location and tools to compete at the highest level.

It was a long-awaited show of the club’s commitment to the women’s game, and it is a move that has evidently had a positive effect on the team and their on-pitch performances.

Speaking of, Liverpool will see their home base for 2024/25 move from Prenton Park to St Helens Stadium, a ground that will look and feel more like a home stadium – it’s a hugely positive step forward.

 

The next challenge

Matt Beard (PA) - manager of the season May 2024

Beard, who was named Manager of the Season, has a big challenge ahead of him next season should he look to push his side closer to the top.

Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal all finished above the Reds and are considered the heavyweights of the WSL, but he will have momentum and clearly the club’s backing behind him as he aims for a European place.

It is a nod to what he has achieved at the club in a short space of time, and Liverpool will no doubt be eager to further strengthen their squad to build on the progress and optimism.