Amanda da Costa: Club, city buzzing over Liverpool title tilt; our FA Cup kickoff; how to hold nerve in title race

Amanda da Costa says Liverpool Ladies are primed for their opening FA Cup tie, reflects on the WSL's booming media coverage and finds similarities between LFC's title push and their own success las
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Amanda da Costa says Liverpool Ladies are primed for their opening FA Cup tie, reflects on the WSL's booming media coverage and finds similarities between LFC's title push and their own success last season.

 

We're up and away this weekend, with our first competitive fixture being the FA Cup tie against Sunderland.

It'll be a curtain raiser before Liverpool Ladies' regular season match against Manchester City - and they will be no easy task for us. Going on the road for our first match isn't something that we have been used to, so I think not being in our comfort zone right from the start will be an added challenge.

It is vital for us to start off as strong as we finished last season, and make it known that we are here this season with the motivation to defend our current Women's Super League title.

Pre-season is a tough time because after a couple of months you really start to get anxious for the start of the season.

Last weekend we found ourselves in the last pre-season friendly before the big kick-off - and we picked up right from where we left off with a 4-0 victory over Millwall. Last season, '4' seemed to be our lucky number as we ended numerous matches towards the tail end of the campaign with such a scoreline. It seems only fitting to go into the start of this season the same way!

The squad is coming together with several new signings breaking into the lineup and competition amongst the group for playing time. The overall environment has been positive and competitive, and I think it's safe to say that we are in top form for our match against Sunderland.

The most exciting part about returning to the WSL this season is to be able to see first-hand the growth the women's game has made in only the past year.

Each season seems to generate exponentially more interest than the previous year, and there has been a definite push from both the BBC and BT Sport to help increase the popularity of the WSL in England.

Teams are starting to invest greatly in not only the domestic English players, but in the international market as well. I think that bringing in different playing styles from other countries can only help grow the game on a global scale, and will put England on the map as one of the most competitive Women's leagues in Europe.

Along with the excitement of the start to a bigger WSL comes the excitement that everyone at Liverpool FC is sharing with the current success of our men's side in the Premier League.

There is an obvious buzz around the mere sight of the Liverpool FC badge, and it is exciting to be a part of the historical season that the men are finding themselves in. From the start of the 2013 campaign, there has been a push from the club to demonstrate a “one club mentality” as the women were brought under the Liverpool FC umbrella.

Since then, the club has stayed completely true to this commitment, and it is a good feeling to know that I am part of such an incredible club.

Of course, with LFC challenging for the Premier League title, the circumstances are very similar to how we pulled off winning the WSL last season.

There's plenty of buzz in the media about title pressure, but I think the biggest thing that we had to remind ourselves last season is that the only pressure that exists is the kind that we make up in our heads.

Similar to the men this season, we found ourselves in a position last year where nobody believed we would be able to pull off a successful campaign. As we found ourselves having more and more success with each game, the goal that we had set for ourselves on the first day of pre-season was starting to appear reachable. There are always some nerves when you play, but they are nerves of the excitement and the rush that you feel when you step out onto the pitch and hear “You'll Never Walk Alone”.

Seeing the fight and determination that the Liverpool men show in every performance is proof that they will continue to play each game as though it was their last, and enjoy every second of the history they are writing.

Follow Amanda: @ADacosta13.

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