Liverpool will be without goalkeeper Rachael Laws when they travel to Brighton in search of a much-needed win in the Women's Super League this weekend.
The Reds currently sit 10th in the table after regsistering five consecutive WSL defeats and will be hoping for a change of fortunes when they take on the Seagulls at the Broadfield Stadium on Saturday. However manager Matt Beard won't be able to call upon Laws, who is expected to be sidelined for around two weeks after picking up a knock during training.
The Newcastle-born shot stopper has featured in all six of Liverpool's league games so far this season, and joins an injury list which also includes midfielder Ceri Holland, who sustained a groin injury ahead of October's clash with Manchester City. While Holland is making "good progress", assistant manager Amber Whiteley confirmed Sunday's match would come too soon for the Wales international.
"Apart from Rachael and Ceri, everyone else is looking great for the weekend," Whiteley said in her pre-match press conference. "We go into every game that we play wanting to take something from it.
"We know that it’s a difficult league and it will take time to adjust but now we’re really focused on trying to turn those performances into results. We’re expecting a difficult one this weekend against Brighton but one that we hope to take something from.”
The Seagulls suffered their biggest ever WSL defeat in their last home game, succumbing to an 8-0 mauling against Tottenham in what proved to be Hope Powell's last game in charge. Assistant manager, Amy Merricks, has taken on the role of interim head coach following Powell's departure, and Whiteley believes Brighton will be well-prepared for Liverpool's trip to Crawley
“I think there’s an element of the unknown for this weekend but Amy’s worked with Hope for quite a long time and we expect them really to go back to basics," Whiteley said. "Amy’s a well experienced coach. We expect them to be well-organised, well prepared for the game and a difficult test for us.
“We expect them to be well-drilled, well-organised and sometimes when you have that change in manager and you do go back to basics, the weaknesses that were perhaps there before might not necessarily be there on Sunday so we’re expecting a well-organised Brighton team both with and without the ball.”
Brighton have won their last two WSL meetings with Liverpool, with this their first since a 2-0 victory in January 2020. D espite Liverpool's recent run of poor form, Whiteley believes the Reds can take heart from their performances this term as they look to get some crucial points on the board.
“I think there’s so much that you can take from the recent performances," she said. "You’ve got to take the positives from every game and use that as fuel and motivation for the coming weeks.
"We’ve had lots of positives to take from recent games and like I said now it’s about trying to convert those performances into points.”
Whiteley added: “We’ve got a brilliant group of staff and players. Everyone’s really close, really together, and it keeps you going in the good times and the bad so I’m really fortunate personally to be part of this group and I think everyone has that feeling of being grateful to be here and part of it too which definitely helps in the difficult moments.”
The international break has also presented an opportunity for Liverpool to get winger Shanice van de Sanden, who picked up an injury after her sensational summer return to Merseyside, back up to speed. She's featured as a substitute in the last two league games, and Whiteley is hopeful the Dutch international will have a bigger part to play for the Reds in the run up to Christmas.
“Shanice has made excellent progress," Whiteley said. "We’ve been able to get some really good work into her over the last week or so and it’s looking good, coming on really nicely, and we’ll continue to build up her game time over the coming weeks.”
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