Beard Report: “Defensively, we were outstanding.”

Liverpool FC’s women’s manager said his team deserved victory against Arsenal after a tactically astute performance.

For the second year in a row, Liverpool FC Women beat a title contender in their opening match of the season.

It was probably even more impressive when the Reds beat Arsenal on Sunday when manager Matt Beard revealed after the match that a number of players and staff had suffered illnesses during the week, causing that two players and his co-coach completely missed the match.

It was definitely a tough week. I just think if you share the cohesiveness of the group today, even my assistant Amber got sick last night and the way the week went, you just didn’t know what was going to happen.

We lost Jas and Yana Friday and Saturday, apparently Flinty was sick with COVID, Taylor was sick with COVID and Sophie had a visibly broken nose and face.

It was a tough week and a great way to end it.
Despite being shorthanded and having to play with a more improvised lineup than he would have liked, Beard was very pleased with the players’ performance on the field.

While Arsenal’s team was full of top-notch attacking talent, his Liverpool side limited the Gunners to very few clear looks at goal.

If a shot went through, goalkeeper Rachael Laws was always there to block it.

I think we were excellent defensively today. I think people will say, “You got lucky,” but that wasn’t the case. We defended, we got involved, we made great saves when we needed them. I was very happy with it.

I thought Lawsy was excellent today. She had such a good pre-season and I think that showed today.

Beard revealed his team implemented the tactic to deal with Arsenal’s back three by clogging the midfield and pushing them aside early.

Their central defenders and midfielders brilliantly handled the crosses coming into the penalty area.

Not really. Because even though they play a four-man defense, they still build with a three-man defense.

We planned to go for a three-man defense or drop a full-back just to create the advantage.

We just wanted to make sure we dominated in the middle because they like to bring it to midfield, get it back [and] then go around you.

We prevented this. They had to go wide, [we] forced them into turnovers from time to time.

Like I said, defensively – crossing, blocking shots, making Lawsy’s saves when necessary – I thought we were outstanding.

I think we really limited them to crosses and long shots.

Another tactical change at half-time saw Liverpool become more aggressive in attack. Beard said he let full-back Taylor Hinds push further to create better spacing to beat Arsenal’s aggressive press.

We really changed that at halftime. I felt like we started slow and it reminded me a bit of last year.

We didn’t take the positions we were supposed to take. We hesitated to take the step because Arsenal put pressure on us with a lot of players.

We did very well in training on Saturday, but training is different from game day.

If you look at the way we started the second half, the goal was because we broke their press.

As soon as their pressure is released, six or seven players are eliminated.

We wanted to stretch them, we wanted to drop the centre-backs a bit deeper because they press so high and that gives us a bit more space to try and get Fuka or Gemma on the ball in the centre.

On that side we were satisfied with how it worked, especially at the beginning of the second half.

With his team leading 1-0 as the clock ticked towards the 90 minute mark, Matt Beard saw the fourth official held up ten minutes of extra time due to several stoppages.

With a group of substitutes, some of whom were playing in places they were not very familiar with, Liverpool remained calm.

Beard said the team only worked on these situations during the preseason.

We work a lot tactically, a lot of it is dedicated to pre-season preparation.

What we tried to do this year is make things a little easier and more consistent.

Last year we had a nightmare in the second half of the season with injuries. I remember planning a game where the team changed three times; This actually happened when we played Arsenal away and then we had to change the system.

We worked a lot on defensive distances and defensive crosses, because that’s where most of the goals come from in Super League.

We looked at last season, we looked at the statistics, we looked at where do the goals come from?

We looked at the position of the goalkeepers: were they positioned, were they not positioned? We worked a lot on one objective, how to stop goals, but on two, how to score goals.

Last year there was a slight shift in goals from open play. We wanted to make sure we had the best possible chance of winning games. We worked a lot on this to make sure we win games.

The calm of his team was even more impressive considering the record attendance.

A WSL record: 54,115 fans were present to see Liverpool beat Arsenal. Although Beard was happy to see such a large crowd, he was even happier to ruin the party. in stadiums.

I think even though we are not playing in the main stadiums, the number of spectators has still increased.

It was a great atmosphere today… my throat can’t believe it! But it was a really great atmosphere.

It gets stronger, doesn’t it? I think if you’re an Arsenal fan today you’re asking yourself: ‘Why didn’t we get anything out of this game?’

“But I know how hard we worked to stop them from playing because they are a world-class team.

It was fantastic, there was a great atmosphere and I’m just glad we ruined the party!

With a big win behind them on matchday one, Beard believes his side are in a better position this season to have a more consistent first quarter than last year, when the Reds beat Chelsea but lost their five next ones.

An improved squad and more experience in the WSL are two of the keys to why the Liverpool manager believes his side will be more cohesive this time around.

I think we have a better team this time. We have collected experiences from last year.

When I come back to the Anfield match, we are frozen. But we played at Anfield, Goodison Park, Villa Park. So when we come here, it’s obviously a fantastic stadium and there’s a record attendance today, but we have the experience of last year that we didn’t have before.

The point is, it’s a game. Last year we beat Chelsea and everyone was thrilled about it, then we went away without winning by four.

For me it’s important to take it game after game, to keep my feet on the ground. It was great to celebrate with our fans today.

I like the way they have separated it now because I think it will create a better atmosphere in the stadiums.

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