The day after the Chelsea game we were invited to Anfield for the Hillsborough Celebration Match to watch past LFC Legends (and John Bishop) playing against each other.
When we arrived we were served dinner (I’m from up north so dinner is the same as lunch!) in one of the lounges, and credit to the chefs because that food was very very very good! The day itself was fun, with the game seeming to have a slight pantomime feel to it, as you’d probably expect with a charity game. The whole stadium trying to convince Kenny Dalglish to take a penalty by chanting his name was a personal highlight! … even though he didn’t take it in the end.
A few of players from our team together with the men and academy teams took part in some football activities on the pitch beforehand. It’s great to be included in the same events as they are, really makes us feel like we really are considered as colleagues as opposed to a separate entity altogether. Still doesn’t make it any less exciting when we meet them or go to Anfield though!
With the men doing so well in the Premier League (nearly) our whole team is rooting for them, regardless of who they support. Last season when we won the league they invited the team for breakfast and to watch them train at Melwood, I wonder if we should do the same if they win the league…? The fact they’re so close to winning and are doing so well is motivating us. As well as wanting to win the league and retain our title for ourselves, there’s a sense of wanting to do it for the club too. So they/we can say that Liverpool FC were champions in the BPL and WSL 2014! That would be amazing.
I mentioned in the last blog that we were struggling with injuries. This week things got worse and we lost MORE players. What’s going on?! More players have been brought up from the development squad and to be fair to them they’ve done brilliantly. I think we’re all aware of the fact that the injuries we’ve had are bringing us closer but that doesn’t stop it from putting extra strain on us all. Though we are looking forward to how strong our squad will be when we have everybody back fit! We had a couple of extra days off last week, just so everyone could have a mental break from football as well as a physical one. We needed it, because the past week was pretty intense to say the least.
On Saturday we played Everton in the FA Cup quarter final. The less said about that game the better. We didn’t play well, but we all knew that and we knew what we needed to work on in the few days before we played them again in the Continental Cup. Even though it wasn’t our best game, I think we needed to lose so we could refocus. We hadn’t faced a game like that in preseason so I think it’ll be a positive learning curve and will help us looking ahead to the rest of the season. With our dwindling squad being knocked out of the cup might help us in the long run too, giving the players who are struggling more time to recover and get back to being 100% fit. After all, retaining the league title is the most important thing this season.
After the game there were so many fans that stayed behind to meet us, which was such a nice thing to have after a game like that. I want to give a special shoutout to Saf who was there at the game, a young goalkeeper playing for the Liverpool Centre of Excellence. Before Christmas she sent me a picture of the both of us walking out before a game with a message written on the back, and gave me a ‘YNWA’ bracelet. If you’re reading this Saf, your picture is up on my wall and the bracelet is in my kitbag as my lucky charm!
On Sunday it was the PFA awards in London, a night where footballers both male and female, sport VIPs and other members of the media and football industry come together to celebrate the achievement and performances of players for the season. This year we had several awards and nominations, which is testament to the success of last season. Lucy Bronze won players player of the year, Martha Harris won young player of the year, and we had 7 current Liverpool players featuring in the team of the year too. To be honest, I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more, because I’m lucky enough to play with all of them and can vouch for the constant work rate and effort they give in every training session and match. Well done!! Even though the awards were last season, it gives us an added element of confidence as we start our 2014 campaign, because we know that we have the quality to succeed if everything goes to plan.
… Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case so far! On Wednesday we played our highly anticipated rematch against Everton, this time in the continental cup. Despite our domination of the game we didn’t manage to score and the game ended goalless. On the plus side, we kept a clean sheet! Everybody was disappointed because we felt like we deserved to win the game, which we did. It’s difficult to beat a team that defends for 90 minutes, but if that was their game plan then credit to them because they pulled it off. As frustrating as it is that we’re creating chances and not scoring, when we look back to last season this is how we started too and look where that got us! (Championsss!) Collectively we know that once we score the first couple of goals then it’ll all fit into place and our football will get back to how it ended last year, and hopefully with the same success!
We’re starting to get players back fit after their injuries now, and the squad is feeling stronger again. Let’s just hope our winning streak starts on Saturday at home against Sunderland. Bring it on!
Full time professional football player for Liverpool LFC in the FAWSL. Represented her country England at U-19 and U-23 level.