Amanda da Costa: LFC right behind Liverpool Ladies; Coutinho strengths and THAT result at Anfield
Returning as Women's Super League champions doesn't mean anyone at Liverpool Ladies are resting on their laurels. The manager has made sure of that!
I think that each year you need to push yourself and I think our manager feels the same way. It does none of us any good if we feel comfortable in our position, and so it is important to keep bringing in good talent to make us better than we were yesterday, and to have even more to fight for.
The new signings fit in perfectly with the squad, both on and off the pitch. Our manager and back room staff have a good indication of the types of people they wanted to bring in, who would also fit in well with the closeness of our team, and I think they did well to match our personalities.
On the pitch is of course a whole other story, as all of the new additions have made the transition seamlessly, and we continue to have competition for positions. The new additions combined with us having played together for a year now have noticeably improved our training sessions.
The standard is set incredibly high for all of our sessions, making it easier to stay sharp and focused.
Along with a new season complete with new signings comes a new style of training and organization. We are now training full time, reporting to the changing room at 11am and not leaving until 4pm. Last season was a bit different, as we were training during the nights at the Liverpool Academy, but Liverpool FC has worked extremely hard with Halton Stadium to arrange for the stadium to be our permanent training ground.
Our sports scientists have been diligent in distinguishing what types of training and fitness we need at certain times, and a big emphasis has been placed on improving our fitness levels during these early stages of preseason.
There is a noticeable change in the air of the professional environment that Liverpool continues to create for us, and the standard is unmatched in the women's game.
Coutinho has had a fantastic season so far with Liverpool and his confidence seems to be growing with each game. There has been some talk about whether his best position is on the left wing or centrally, and I think both positions have their obvious advantages for a player of his type. Playing on a wing tends to lock you into a 1 v 1 situation more often than not, and you have a much larger picture of the field.
One of the strengths Coutinho demonstrates is the ability to take players on and attack centrally off of the wing, often times creating scoring chances for himself or for his teammates. On the other hand, playing centrally certainly gives you a great deal of freedom when it comes to having the option to interchange with the wingers as well as making penetrating runs out of the midfield.
I've been playing centrally my entire life and consider myself quite a dynamic player. I pride myself on being able to cover a lot of ground on the pitch and join in on the attack, but from what I've seen of Coutinho, I would love to continue seeing him wreak havoc in either position and creating dangerous situations for the Reds.
We've been together for a year now, and the amount that we have been able to grow together in that short of a time is astonishing. The longer you get to spend with your team, the easier it becomes to play together. It is the little things that are the most different, such as knowing exactly where to play someone in without even taking a look, you just know that they are going to be there.
With time comes comfort, and I am really looking forward to seeing what this second season has in store for us.
Follow Amanda: @ADacosta13.