The WSL 1 season started out with Liverpool beating Everton 2-0. A lot has happened since then. Everton has improved quite a lot but remain in about 8th place while Liverpool are in 5th. What are your predictions for this Derby?
RBM (Rachel): I am guessing 1-1. Everton is going to prove that they have progressed by leaps and bounds since September.
TLO (Jordan): I think 1-1 would be great, but considering the Reds lost on Tuesday to Arsenal, I’d hope they try to get stuck in a little more. I’m hoping for 2-1, but would be happy with 1-1, honestly.
What do you want to see in this Derby?
RBM: It’s a Derby so I want to see some red cards. Like five. Okay, more like two, one each team. I think it’s going to get pretty chippy out there, to be honest. Not an all-out brawl, but maybe a mini-brawl or two. The season is almost over and I want to see everyone give it their all.
TLO: Absolutely the same thing. I want the girls to properly get stuck in and throw in some tackles that the Merseyside Derby is known for. It’s the end of the season, there’s everything to play for, especially with the differences in positions. I want to see the kind of sticky play that these teams are known for.
What do you think will be Liverpool’s strategy in the Derby?
TLO: The biggest thing is that the ladies will be looking to come back from losing to Arsenal during the week. Gemma Bonner will be featuring for sure after being out with injury, and she’ll do her best to boss the game with Caroline Weir and Kate Longhurst. I think they usually do a 4-3-3 and wouldn’t be surprised to see that kind of setup, so long as they can get the ball to Bethany England.
Which players stand out to you as one’s that will shine during the Derby?
RBM: Watch out for Gabby George’s tackles and Chloe Kelly’s shot.
TLO: Bethany England is positively lethal in front of the goal, and Caroline Weir’s vision for passes is masterful.
What do you think of the teams sharing Select Security Stadium for games? Some players have said they don’t care for the turf there while others are okay with it.
TLO: I think it’s pretty surprising, and kind of hilarious that the match has been moved to Prenton Park. Select Stadium is mostly fine, but it’s pretty clear it’s not cared for as well and I think the Reds have suffered for it. I think sharing honestly isn’t that bad, but for times like this when we kinda need a home field advantage.
RBM: Lately, Everton has been playing at the Marine Travel Arena, so perhaps that will be their home pitch next season.
What’s been the Ladies highlights of their season so far?
TLO: Their 5 win streak in the early parts of the season was pretty rad!
RBM: The Toffees almost made it to the FA Cup final, which was super duper awesome.
Do you think Bethany England will ever get a senior England call up? (Great last name, by the way.) Anyone else on the squad who deserves a shot?
TLO: SHE BETTER. She’s been INCREDIBLE since coming to Liverpool and I’m hoping they take whatever chance they get to sign her and take her from Chelsea at the end of the season. She’s positively prolific.
RBM: Gabby George has gotten a few senior England call ups, but no game time, but it is still a huge feat considering most players are in the top 3 WSL teams. I keep rooting for Courtney Sweetman-Kirk to get a chance too. Chloe Kelly may transition to the senior team at some point in the future too.
In the spirit of #BroSo, what did you think of the boys’ Derby games this season?
RBM: The first one was my favorite, when the teams came away even at 1-1. The second one was a bummer. The last one was a bit of a snooze fest because Liverpool had in their B team but a draw is better than a loss. I felt like there was a bit of Derby fatigue because they played each other three times this season. I love a Derby but it’s emotionally draining.
TLO: I’m not gonna lie, I agree. I have a little bit of Derby fatigue this year because it feels like they always mean so much and the one this season that didn’t mean as much because it was a snoozer. I literally fell asleep in it, because they’re all pretty much at 4:30 am for me. I know this last one was smack in the middle of Champions League games and it was important to rotate because that’s the priority right now, but god damn. So much has happened that the others this year feel very much very far away.
We have discussed how it can be difficult to report on teams that receive less coverage and resources. It looks as though the Ladies Derby is not going to be televised, which is a huge disappointment. I see that Liverpool has a Ladies Show which seems like a great feature.
RBM: One gripe I have is that for many of the games, there aren’t even photographs available. The WSL website isn’t up to date and still has articles up from Everton’s last season. I hope that TV and media coverage expands next season. I am seriously disappointed that the Derby is not going to be on Facebook Live. AND I really want Everton to include the women’s team with the men’s team more, not just on a separate Twitter account. Manchester City is pretty much the ideal in that category but even a group photo would be great.
TLO: SAME. That’s the hardest thing for me. Thankfully Liverpool provide at least one or two, but they’re small photographs. The Ladies Show on LFCTV is a great feature, but only available if you have an LFCTV subscription and not gonna lie, that’s probably not everyone. The Liverpool Ladies website itself, ladies.liverpoolfc.com, does a pretty good job of putting up whatever info you need, so I’d suggest using them as your main resource. The LFC Ladies Facebook page also does their best to air whatever games they can, which is perfect. Shameless self-promo, too, but I try to cover whatever I can on Liverpool Offside as well.
Many of the WSL teams are now called Women instead of Ladies, for example: Manchester City Women, Arsenal Women, Reading Women, and Bristol City Women. Do you wish for the team to officially change their name to Women next year?
TLO: I think it’d be a great step forward, especially knowing where the Ladies addition came from. I also love Arsenal’s approach to it, treating the whole club as Arsenal, whether they’re Women or not, and I’d love Liverpool to take that on too. If we’re all fighting for equality, the clubs themselves can and should be the first places for that.
RBM: I, personally, hope that they change it to Everton Women. I think it’s time! Ladies seems more than a little antiquated. Either way, I will root for this team.
What do you wish for for the Ladies next season?
RBM: I keep pushing for a big American signing because it would bring some more attention but Everton has a good team as is. The Blues made a lot of changes this season and it seems like their priorities are straight.
The general manager Aaron Little spoke a lot about safeguarding and caring about the players well-being and, quite frankly, knowing that 88% of players in the WSL get paid under £18,000 a year, that’s really important.
There is no relegation this season in the WSL1, so it was a safe time to come back up into the top flight. But Everton Ladies will have to progress more next season when more teams are going to be added to the league and competition will be even more fierce. I hope that they can crack the top five within the next three years.
TLO: I want them to keep Bethany England. I want them to protect Kate Longhurst and Gemma Bonner for as long as possible. I’d love to see a big American signing as well, but I was burned pretty bad by Carli Lloyd[‘s move from NWSL to Manchster City] so I have no idea who they could pick up.
I want to see Jess Clarke take on more of a presence in the squad and really cement her place as a Liverpool player. I want to see us back in the race and really challenge for some silverware, because I know they’ve been in a bit of rebuild since losing Fara Williams and Matt Beard. Basically I want them to be as good as I know they can be.
Everton Ladies vs Liverpool Ladies
Sunday, April 29th
14:00 BST, 9:00 EST
(at Tranmere Rovers FC)
Our thanks to Jordan for speaking with us here, enjoy the Derby everyone!