Liverpool Ladies Season Preview 2016: Which direction can Rogers guide the Reds in?

With a new manager and countless changes in personnel, who knows what lies ahead for the Merseysiders.

Liverpool Ladies Season Preview 2016: Which direction can Rogers guide the Reds in?
Can Liverpool pick up the title that they lost last year? (Photo: Liverpool Echo)

Liverpool Ladies' fans have rode a crazy rollercoaster in the past 12 months.

After the ecstasy of a second successive league title, their attempts to defend it and claim a third in a row were lacklustre to say the least as they almost did the unthinkable and dropped down to the second tier.

Fortunately, Bristol City, then Academy, had such a poor season that it seemed impossible that anyone but them would be relegated, and that proved to be true as the Reds finished second-from-bottom, five points off the foot of the table, to survive.

Since then though, there has been so much change. With a completely different squad at the disposal of a new manager, anything can happen this year on Merseyside.

Transfer business

It was announced before the end of the 2015 season that Matt Beard would be leaving his role as manager of Liverpool, and it was Scott Rogers who stepped up to take the vacancy, moving up from his role as assistant.

Rogers has recruited plenty of talent to aid him in his full managerial debut this year too. As well as the club renewing countless crucial contracts, a mixture of promising young talent and experienced wise heads have come into the team.

Sophie Ingle, Alex Greenwood and Laura Coombs are all examples of the former, whilst Siobhan Chamberlain and Natasha Harding will provide the experience the team needs to re-establish itself at the top of the table.

More importantly though, the top quality recruitment done by the Reds should help repair the damage done by so many departures. With players such as Natasha Dowie, Libby Stout, Becky Easton and Fara Williams having walked out of the same door first opened by Beard, there's a lot of rebuilding to be done.

Key players

So many losses mean that it is crucial that players raise their game and get this team off to a good start. Things could go either way for Liverpool this season, but if their key performers are on form, it will be a positive direction in which they move.

Captain Gemma Bonner is a player who must obviously raise her levels even higher than normal, with her leadership needed to help the group gel after so much change. At the back, chemistry is key, and the England international will need to ensure her defence are working as a unit in order to build a strong foundation for the side to build upon.

Moving further forward, it's in an attacking sense where the team have really lost players. Rosie White, therefore, needs to hit the ground running when the season gets underway. With time on Merseyside already under her belt, she must set the example for the new signings to follow.

The likes of Shanice van de Sanden and Harding will be allowed time to settle, and will surely play big parts as they get used to things in Liverpool, whereas White will be expected to step up and carry the most of the goal-scoring burden to allow her teammates to slip in without any pressure.

In general, all those who remain from last season's campaign will be expected to play a bigger role this year, especially in helping new arrivals fit in.

Rosie White will look to lead the way in terms of goal-scoring. (Photo: Liverpool Echo)
Rosie White will look to lead the way in terms of goal-scoring. (Photo: Liverpool Echo)

Potential worries

The obvious concern for fans and the team alike going into the new campaign will be that there could have been too much change. A shake-up was certainly needed after last year's failings, but there is always the danger of too much.

Nine in-comings and nine out-goings, as well as a change of managers, means there is no real 'core' for Liverpool to work with. If the team doesn't gel quickly and properly, then things could take a turn for the worst.

On the other hand, if the team do gel well, then they could rocket up the standings, boosted by new faces and a general breath of fresh air on Merseyside. For now, it's too soon to tell, and we will only see what direction things go in once the season gets going.

Another worry, meanwhile, could be the inexperience of Rogers as a manager. Yes, he spent a significant period of time as Beard's number two and knows the club well, but he remains a rookie in his new role.

How he adapts to the position and deals with the pressures it brings will be as key in defining Liverpool's season as how the team develops chemistry with a relatively brand new crop of players.


All things considered, it seems unlikely that a team full of such talented players will falter, even if they struggle to gel at first.

With so much experience and quality right through their ranks, they may not really find their best form until perhaps midway through the campaign, but once they get going they will be difficult to stop.

As everyone settles into new surroundings, Liverpool's opening few games may be disappointing in terms of results, but once this is out of the way a strong mid-table finish should put them in good stead for a 2017 season that could see them challenging at the right end of the table again.

Unless things go really wrong with the team's growth as a unit, a strong cup run could be on the cards too, with them to excel in the latter stages of the season - perhaps similar to how Manchester City fared in 2014.

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