Amanda da Costa: On the scoresheet for Liverpool Ladies; Gerrard's midfield switch and LFC's spectacular pressing game

Amanda da Costa reflects on the first weeks of preseason at Liverpool Ladies, Steven Gerrard's move to a deeper midfield role and the similarities between the men's and women's pressing game.
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Amanda da Costa reflects on the first weeks of preseason at Liverpool Ladies, Steven Gerrard's move to a deeper midfield role and the similarities between the men's and women's pressing game.

 

Pre-season is well underway, and the new group is starting to get a feel for each other.

It is always an exciting time when the things that we are putting into practice behind the scenes begin to come together on the pitch. There is a bit of a transitional period as we all readjust our bodies to what it feels like to train every single day, and after a couple of weeks of kicking the rust off of our boots and dedicating time to raising our fitness levels, we were starting to look more and more ready for the new season.

Our first official pre-season match saw us playing against a worthy Sunderland side, a team who has found their share of success in the lower division and would prove to be a good first test for us as we continue to adjust to some changes within the squad. It's fair to say that we left Sunderland feeling good about where we stand after a 2-0 victory, but still knowing that we have a great deal of work ahead of us before we are at the level where we need to be.

Things were slowly starting to come together as the minutes wore on, and you could certainly get an idea of the style we are hoping to play this season.

One of the most important parts of pre-season is having a platform where we all feel comfortable discussing things with each other. We have had our fair share of these discussions so far, and I think we are all very pleased with the comfort level between the players and staff in regards to goal setting and management.

In order to be better than we were last season, we needed to evaluate what worked and what didn't work for us, both on a team and an individual level.

For me, it was recognizing my strengths as an attacker and figuring out how to turn my weaknesses into strengths. While I did well to create opportunities for my teammates last season, I struggled with the confidence to take my own chances when they presented themselves and this is something that needs to be better. I have begun well in preseason so far, and getting on the scoresheet against Sunderland was a positive start. I am hoping to build on that momentum and allow it to carry me into the season opener.

As a midfielder myself, it's been fascinating this season watching Steven Gerrard adjust to a deeper role with Liverpool.

It is no secret that Gerrard is a world class player. He has readily altered his game to match whatever it is that the team asks of him, and this is a perfect example of individuals knowing their role so that the team as a whole can be successful.

Gerrard has done exactly what has been asked of him, being a screen in front of his back line. He has such incredible vision of the field from this deeper role that he has been able to defensively cut out most penetrating passes before they become dangerous. As usual, his entry passes from deep to his attackers has been a massive component of Liverpool's ability to counterattack so quickly. If I was asked to play a similar role such as Gerrard, I would certainly analyse the way he has done it and look to mirror his efforts.

Certainly, the LFC captain has played a huge role in their success this season - as has the pressing game when without the ball.

Liverpool, in my opinion, has been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. Their high tempo way of playing on either side of the ball, combined with the quality and quantity of goals they have been able to produce has been top class.

The Liverpool Ladies have taken on a similar “high pressure” style of play as our male counterparts. We have had film sessions where we analyse the way that the men are pressing and the organization at which they do so, and are beginning to find that this high pressure system suits our style of play quite well.

I think that player for player, I can compare our squad with the men and find similar types of players from each side. It just continues to show how the women's side has been fully integrated with LFC over the past couple of years, beginning with adapting their core values as a club and ending with our performances on the pitch.

Follow Amanda: @ADacosta13.

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