Liverpool Ladies midfielder Amanda da Costa discusses returning as defending champions, her offseason and also the success of Brendan Rodgers' team so far this term.
It's great to be back - and as champions! But everyone at Liverpool Ladies knows we're now a big target.
After having a historic season last year, it is important that we come into pre-season with humbled eyes. We started the league last season facing a great deal of “unknowns”. We, as players, didn't know each other or our managers, and the other teams of the league didn't know us.
We faced many challenges that first season, which we did well to overcome, and now we need to have the same mindset as the last one. It certainly adds some pressure on us knowing that we have a target on our backs this year, and with that pressure comes great responsibility.
And there is Europe now to look forward to.
Experiencing the Champions League is something that had been on my list of things I wanted to do before I was finished playing football. Having the opportunity to travel through Europe to play against some of the best teams in the world is tremendous, and we worked incredibly hard to be awarded with this chance.
I didn't have my feet up for the entire offseason.
I spent my time home in New York with my family, where I continued to train on my own and participate in some small indoor tournaments to keep me sharp.
Aside from keeping fit, I also managed to keep busy through my recently launched website - advantagetrainer.com, where I was blogging and putting local players through technically enhanced private training sessions. Training younger players is something that I have always had a passion for, and what better way to do it than in my own community!
Bringing them back to basics has actually helped me stay sharp as well, so they have oddly helped me as much as I have helped them.
Of course, during our offseason, Liverpool have been enjoying a great Premier League campaign.
I always tell the players I coach that it is important to not only be a player, but to become a student of the game. Studying the best in the world on the television is the best way to enhance your awareness of the field and decision making.
Being such a close part of the Liverpool FC family has certainly made me excited to watch Liverpool games, especially this season with the early success and big splash Liverpool has made. It's always fun watching good football, and Liverpool has certainly not been boring to watch. With the goal scoring capacity between Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, along with the developing midfield play of younger players such as Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool have had a tremendous season so far.
Suarez in particular, currently being the leading goalscorer in the league with 22 goals, has been outstanding so far this season. He has been top class and has proven that he is amongst one of the best in the world.
Suarez has established himself as a world class finisher with a knack for finding a way to put the ball in the back of the net, and I am looking forward to seeing how he closes out the second half of the season!
Follow Amanda: @ADacosta13.