Richard Laverty previews each team before the FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL 1) Spring Series begins on April 22.
After enduring what was very much a transition year under a new manager with nine new signings in 2016, there’s plenty of eyes on Liverpool this season to see what they can do right from the off in 2017. An excellent unbeaten run in the league which almost helped them to a Continental Cup final showed potential and the team made it to the FA Cup semifinals this year under the impressive Scott Rogers.
Where to Find Liverpool
Select Security Stadium, Widnes
One of the younger managers in the league, Scott Rogers took the job in difficult circumstances last year as Matt Beard departed for America and many players followed. Formerly an assistant under Beard, Rogers had to rebuild the squad after the departures of players such as Natasha Dowie and Fara Williams, but he’s done a mightily impressive job so far.
Very few players have ever had a better debut season than the young attacking midfielder. The Scottish international couldn’t help but continue to find the net in spectacular fashion and has done more than enough to make the shortlist for both PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards last week. Still just 21, Weir’s ceiling of potential is frighteningly high.
Sophie Ingle One of more underrated signings Rogers made last season. Although the Welsh midfielder rarely gets noticed due to her position, Ingle’s role sitting in the midfield or slotting into the back three was imperative last season and her calmness on the ball is second to none. In a side filled with youngsters, Ingle’s quality and experience will continue to be key as Liverpool aim to challenge the top players.
The England international makes it a full house of new signings from 2016. Unfortunately for Greenwood, she missed the whole second half of the season through injury but you can’t help but feel the attacking fullback is going to thrive in a 3-5-2 that will allow her to get forward at will. Greenwood houses one of the best left foots in the league and at 23, she’s only going to get better.
One to Watch
One of several youngsters thrown in by Rogers as Liverpool start the year with a squad low on numbers, Johnson hasn’t looked out of place in the midfield and has started both of Liverpool’s FA Cup games already as they march on toward Wembley. If she continues performing with the maturity she’s shown so far, Johnson can play a big part for Liverpool under a manager keen to give his younger players a chance.
It’s not been the busiest of winters in Widnes with Rogers saying from the off that he aimed to use the Spring Series to give his young players a shot at first-team action. Only the addition of the experienced Casey Stoney was done before last week’s deadline but the club then sprung a surprise by announcing the addition of striker Jess Clarke. Laura Coombs has also returned to the club on a permanent basis after a loan spell last year but there have been a couple of departures to go with the new signings.
Maz Pacheco turned her loan move to Doncaster into a permanent one while last year’s new signings Mandy van den Berg and Emma Lundh left for Reading and Vittsjö GIK, respectively. Striker Rosie White followed Matt Beard to the Boston Breakers and Mollie Green made a move to local rivals Everton last month.