Liverpool FC have returned to the Women’s Super League and two old friends are returning with the club: Shanice van de Sanden and Matt Beard. Promoted at the start of the season on Sunday, the team welcomes reigning champions Chelsea.
In 2013 and 2014, coach Matt Beard won the Women’s Super League with Liverpool. In 2015, he left his position to join the Boston Breakers. But on 13 May 2021, the 44-year-old was due to return to the Reds, guiding them back to the Premier League for the 2021/22 season.
Confident promotion to the WSL
Eleven points out of second place, Liverpool FC dominated last season’s women’s championship with near relish. Beard was able to win three championships in four seasons with the club. Sky Sports UK spoke to the former Chelsea and West Ham manager and asked if there was a special connection between the club with whom so many have celebrated success during their time together: “I don’t think there’s any magic to it. We just work hard and have fun while doing it, which is the important thing.”
Beard continued: “I was very lucky the first time, I worked with fantastic players and great people. That’s a big thing in football, people have to get on well with each other. If you’re happy on and off the pitch, then running comes naturally to a certain extent. It’s just the way it is. – we come in, we work hard, we have fun and that’s about it.”
When Beard left the club in 2015, he wanted to try something new and face different challenges in a different country. These experiences would have shaped him and made him who he is today. However, he has remained a huge fan of the team throughout and was more than happy to return to the club: “I love the city, I love the fans and what the club means to this city. It feels like home to me.”
Shanice van de Sanden returned to Liverpool
In addition to coach Beard, Liverpool FC returns to the WSL with another well-known player: Dutchman Shanice van de Sanden will wear the red shirt again this season. The 29-year-old player switched from German champions VfL Wolfsburg to England this summer. Already in 2016–2017, he joined Liverpool FC.
After leaving Liverpool FC, she won the Champions League and the Division 1 Women’s Championship three times in a row with Olympique Lyon. Two more DFB Cup successes followed with VfL Wolfsburg and the title last season. But his time at Liverpool FC was also very formative for the young player: “When I came to Liverpool a few years ago, it was the first time I played in another country and it taught me so much,” van de Sanden said. interview with Sky Sports UK.
“Playing is fun again”
The 2019 European champion didn’t have it easy at VfL Wolfsburg and spent most of his time on the bench. According to his own statement, he has now regained his enthusiasm for the Liverpool game: “I enjoy playing again. I missed it last year, I didn’t play very often at Wolfsburg and I didn’t enjoy it. It was a good season, we’ve won titles. But still, if it’s not fun anymore, Titles are nothing.”
As for van de Sanden’s recent spell at Liverpool, things have changed in the English league, with the winger himself noting: “It’s much more professional now. We play and train on grass, it’s changed. Before we played in Widnes and the pitch was really bad. We trained there every day too and it was bad for our bodies. Now everything is more organized.”
Liverpool with perfect preparation
At Liverpool FC, the speedy winger is expected to send opposition defenses into a frenzy, but also pass on his wealth of experience to younger teammates. The Reds come undefeated due to more than adequate preparation and van de Sanden has already succeeded again in the Liverpool shirt.
Regarding Liverpool FC’s return to the WSL, coach Beard talks first and foremost about winning the league: “We’re one of the biggest clubs in the world, so it’s great to have a women’s team back in the Women’s Super League. – especially with our story.”
A lot of WSL experience in the team
As the Women’s Super League is a relatively small league with only twelve teams, every point counts during the season. The fight to stay in the class is at least as exciting as the race for a place in the Champions League. But Beard is confident about the new season: “I think we definitely have a good selection in the squad to stay in the league. We have a lot of WSL experience in the squad and even if you look at our commitments: we have up to four players who know the league and are national players.”
The teams are chasing points again
However, with Chelsea FC, the Reds have a tough time at the beginning of the season. After the start of the league was moved a week due to the death of the British Queen, Liverpool FC will now start the new season with a game against the reigning champions. Emma Hayes’ side are now looking for the next title and the same goes for the Blues: every point counts. For this reason, the game is considered an absolute endurance test for the Reds.
The game can be played on Sunday 18.9. from 17:30 live on the Sky channel chasing!
More about the author Eileen Doeker
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