Liverpool are a major scalp no matter what the level – as the Reds discovered that to their cost when they opened their FA Women’s Championship season.
Matt Beard’s second spell as manager began with a frustrating 1-0 defeat to London City Lionesses at Prenton Park on Sunday afternoon.
And the boss admits his new-look side were given a glimpse of the unique pressures they will once again have to overcome as they seek a return to the top flight.
“We know how tough it is,” says Beard. “You can see how London raised their game, with us being back at Prenton Park with the fans.
“For most parts, we did okay. I know that we still have plenty to fine-tune and it’s disappointing we didn’t get the right result, but there are positives we can take.
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“We have to take it on the chin but we’ll be fine. The group has shown immense character and we won’t let this define what is to come.”
The only goal of the game was scored on the hour from the penalty spot, Rianna Jarrett netting after Kenni Thompson had been fouled by Liverpool defender Leighanne Robe.
London created the better chances, not least when striking the post in the first half, while the Reds were largely reduced to shots from range.
Liverpool had been dealt a double blow in the build-up to the game with new signing Megan Campbell sidelined having undergone surgery on an ankle injury suffered in the friendly against Celtic earlier in the month, while 18-year-old Evie Smith – who had recently stepped up from the Academy to the senior set-up – is out with a similar problem.
Summer arrivals Charlotte Wardlaw and Leanne Kiernan were handed their debuts while Jasmine Matthews began her second spell with Liverpool in defence.
“We responded really well after the goal,” adds Beard. “But the way the game went it did look like a set-piece would decide it.
“It’s frustrating not to get anything from the game. Credit to London, they put us under pressure and made it a scrappy.
“We didn’t get some decisions we should have done, but that’s not why we lost.”
Liverpool Women are next in Championship action on Saturday at Watford (kick-off 2pm).
LFC WOMEN: Laws, Wardlaw (Roberts 79), Robe, Matthews, Hinds, Bailey (Fahey 58), Kearns (Humphrey 79), Holland, Furness (Dean 62), Lawley, Kiernan (Hodson 79). Subs: Foster, Startup, Moore, Parry.