While the liver bird soars high in the Premier League, it has failed to get off to a flying start in the Women’s Super League, as Florence Lloyd-Hughes explains.
There’s a strange divide forming on Merseyside. It’s not the usual club clash between blue and red, but the contrasting fortunes of Liverpool’s men’s and women’s teams. As Jurgen Klopp’s side are enjoying their 100-per-cent start to season, the fate of the Reds’ other senior squad couldn’t be further from perfect.
Liverpool FC Women find themselves bottom of the WSL after one game — a 5-0 defeat to Arsenal. Although it’s just one league defeat, the club also lost to rivals Manchester United in the Continental Cup. Those disappointing competitive fixtures came off the back of a troubling summer, which saw an exodus of players, including captain Gemma Bonner.
The departures were overseen by a powerless Neil Redfearn, an experienced player and coach in the men’s game, who was appointed as Scott Rogers’ replacement in June. Rogers had been part of the coaching staff when the Reds won back-to-back WSL titles in 2013 and 2014.
Redfearn impressively led Doncaster Rovers Belles to the WSL 2 title last season, before they were unfortunately ousted from the top two tiers. However, it seems he went from one impending crisis to another.
On Friday, Redfearn resigned from his role as head coach of the team, with former England goalkeeper and Reds coach Chris Kirkland coming in to take control on an interim basis.
Following Redfearn’s departure, Liverpool struggled to a 4-3 win on penalties against Durham in the cup, and it seems it’s going to be a very long season from here.
By contrast, Klopp and his side have enjoyed a faultless few weeks. Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham was the team’s best win of the season and a statement of intent for the title. The team are second in the table, just behind Chelsea on goal difference.
In the last two transfer windows, Liverpool’s owners spent a huge amount of money to build a squad that would challenge for the championship.
The team also made it to the top of Europe, narrowly missing out on the Champions League title to Real Madrid after Loris Karius’ lapse in concentration.
Liverpool have a realistic chance of claiming their first Premier League title this season, which would be their first top-tier title since 1990.
Liverpool Women have had the opposite experience, with major players departing for greener pastures like Manchester City, Chelsea and Casey Stoney’s Man United.
As the fully-professional WSL sees the emergence of new powers in women’s football, such as Reading, Birmingham and Brighton Hove Albion, it’s surprising a club that has such a strong men’s team backing it has fallen into deep trouble. Hopefully, the women’s team at Liverpool can recover quickly.
Follow Florence on Twitter at @FloydTweet