Matt Beard detailed the lessons Liverpool FC Women must take from their 2-0 defeat by Manchester City in the Continental League Cup.
The Reds were undone by two second-half goals in Wednesday night’s tie at Prenton Park and now have to wait for other results to see if their tally of nine points in Group B is sufficient to qualify for the quarter-finals.
After an opening 45 minutes in which the home side had chances to break the deadlock, strikes from Filippa Angeldahl and Mary Fowler earned City the victory.
Post-match, LFC Women boss Beard spoke to Liverpoolfc.com – read his reaction below…
On his assessment of the match…
It was always going to be a tough game for us tonight. I felt we defended really well in the first half, I think they opened us up maybe once. The injuries, with obviously Charlotte [Wardlaw] having to go off and then Razza [Rhiannon Roberts] sort of hurt us a little bit. Then we had Carla [Humphrey] and Hannah [Silcock] cramp up for their second goal.
The frustrating thing was, the first one we had Razza off but we just need to clear our lines. The second goal, we’ve got Carla and Hannah down but we still could have defended it a little bit better. But there’s still positives we can take from tonight; from our perspective, we’ve got the minutes into the people that need minutes and the good thing is we keep everyone fresh for Sunday as well.
On Liverpool’s chances in the first half, with Missy Bo Kearns going closest…
I thought Missy Bo was excellent tonight, that was probably her best performance in a Liverpool shirt this season, for sure. As I said, they’re a tough team to play against and I felt we did OK in certain moments, especially pleased with the defensive shape in the first half. The thing we said at half-time was there were areas we felt we could hurt them, we just needed to be a little bit more positive when we broke their press. We kept going backwards when we could have gone forwards.
Sometimes when you play the top, top teams you’re a little bit hesitant about breaking forward just in case, but we need to create those spaces and trust that – like we did against West Ham at the weekend, once we broke it we were flooding forward. That’s another learning curve for us tonight and we’ve got to make sure we learn from that and we just keep moving forward.
On Sunday’s Barclays Women’s Super League clash with Leicester City…
It’s a big game, we know that. I’ve got every faith and confidence in the group, we have been playing well for the last three or four weeks and we’re getting that confidence back up at this level. We’re looking forward to the game and we’ll do as much as we can to win it, as we always do. We’re looking forward to it.
Liverpool FC Women lost 2-0 against Manchester City in their final match of the Continental League Cup group phase.
Wednesday night’s contest amid bitterly cold temperatures at Prenton Park was settled by second-half finishes from Filippa Angeldahl and Mary Fowler.
The defeat means Matt Beard’s Reds must wait for other fixtures in the competition to be completed to see if their tally of nine points is enough to reach the quarter-finals.
In the fledgling stages of the Group B clash, Yana Daniels almost capitalised on City’s failure to clear their lines but the visitors mopped up before the Liverpool attacker could strike.
The Reds landed the first shot on goal in the eighth minute, however, a turnover deep in opposition territory allowing Missy Bo Kearns to sweep a curling effort towards the top left corner that Sandy MacIver took out of the air well.
City began to assert control of the ball, though without truly concerning the home team, with Hayley Raso’s driven cross-shot past the front of goal the closest they came during that spell.
They fashioned their best chance of the first half eight minutes before its end, Demi Stokes making headway down the left flank and feeding a pass back to Angeldahl, whose rising blast perhaps had Eartha Cumings beaten but whistled just over the crossbar.
Beard was forced into a change moments from the interval, Charlotte Wardlaw succumbing to an injury and Katie Stengel her replacement with the score still goalless.
Neither side was quite able to find a rhythm upon the restart, but City steadily began to exert a level of pressure that would yield the breakthrough before the hour mark.
After Rhiannon Roberts produced a brave block that would cause her to leave the field with an ankle issue, the away side found the opener via a left-wing corner.
The delivery was initially headed in at goal by Alanna Kennedy and blocked, but the ball was recycled to Angeldahl, who turned and dragged a low shot across Cumings into the bottom left corner.
Liverpool tried to rally in the search for an equaliser that would have led to a penalty shootout and the opportunity for a valuable bonus point, but it was from a potential foray that City countered and struck again.
Substitute Lauren Hemp sped dangerously through the left channel to create space for a low cross that was clinically dispatched first time when met by Fowler inside the box.
The Reds therefore drop to second in the table, behind City, and with only the five group winners and one best runner-up to qualify must await results from elsewhere to confirm their fate.
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