Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool: The Media Conferences

Impetus’ Ellie Ramsauer was in Brighton and Hove Albion interim head coach Amy Merricks‘ event whilst Shannon Cookson dialled into Liverpool’s presser which was taken by assistant coach Amber Whiteley (20/11/22).

Above: Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Amy Merricks. Photo: Brighton and Hove Albion Women.

Brighton and Hove Albion go into their vital home game with fellow WSL cellar-dwellers Liverpool on Sunday in a positive frame of mind after their dramatic 5-4 win at West Ham United last time out, writes Ellie Ramsauer.

Reflecting on that win at Victoria Road, Brighton interim head coach Amy Merricks stated: “We were all proud of them [the players] in terms of the performance and the way they applied themselves.” She added that the team “played with some real intent” and that “there are some really positive foundations to build on from that game.” Merricks did concede, however, that there were “moments in the game where we need to learn to manage it better” and that was a “lesson learned.”

Following Albion’s big win, there has been a two-week international break in which a number of players have flown across the globe to play for their respective nations. When asked whether this break may have affected the team’s momentum Merricks responded that she “didn’t think so,” instead the Seagulls’ chief thought there had been some “really exciting elements as a club and a team over the two weeks, so for example with Katie Robinson making her debut for the England Senior team” as well as the fact that “Park Ye-Eun scored for [South] Korea.”

This led Merricks to the conclusion that “there’s several different things that we can build on and I think actually it’s quite nice sometimes for them to get a change of scenery, they come back and those that have remained worked really hard, so no complaints.”

Above: Rebekah Stott in training this week. Photo: Brighton and Hove Albion Women.

Another big talking point, as the Albion boss reflected on the West Ham game, was the number of players who got goals, which included three players who got debut goals for the club. In particular, Elisabeth Terland got her first goal for the club which pleased Merricks as she’s “been trying for a few games, came very close a number of times, so for her just to get the ball over the line was probably a big moment.” Danielle Cater also bagged a brace, as well as an assist, against West Ham, which Merricks said “shows that she can have a good impact on the game.”

Looking forward to Sunday’s vital game against a team around them in the table, there was positive news on the injury front. “Rebekah Stott’s been on the pitch a bit more which is really nice to see, Maisie [Symonds] has been in and around training which is nice to see but [she’s] not there just yet.”

In terms of specific targets for the match against Liverpool, the Brighton chief emphasised a need to “focus on the performance, focus on applying ourselves well first and foremost and the result will take of itself.”

Merricks asserted that Liverpool are “a really organised side’ and that “they also have several individuals with very good experience in the WSL and exciting youngsters coming through so they’ll be set up well, I have no doubt that they will come at us during the game and we have to be prepared for that.”

However, the interim head coach declared that her team have to “focus first and foremost on our performance” as well as carrying over “our intent from West Ham.” Merricks also mentioned that “managing the game where we can and where we need to’ is important.

During the international break, there was a new appointment at the club as Zoe Johnson was named as the women’s and girls’ Managing Director. Merricks reflected that the move was “a really positive appointment in terms of her experience in the game, she’s done a fantastic job at Sheffield United, has plenty of experience pitch-side as well as through being a General Manager, so an exciting appointment from the club and hopefully that can push us on.” There wasn’t, however, any news on the managerial vacancy with Merricks stating that “the club is still in the process of going through the appointment for the head coach” which is “still ongoing.”

Above: Liverpool assistant coach Amber Whiteley. Photo: Liverpool FC Women.

Liverpool’s trip to the Broadfield Stadium on Sunday is a hugely important encounter with The Reds currently sitting tenth having lost their last five games, with The Seagulls only one place ahead of them in the table, writes Shannon Cookson.

Assistant Coach Amber Whiteley, speaking to the media in Matt Beard’s absence due to temporary illness, confirmed that there is still a positive feeling in the squad: “I think there’s so much you can take from the recent performances. You’ve got to take positives from every game and use that as fuel and motivation for the coming weeks. We’ve had a lot of positives to take from recent games”.

Beard’s team lost only 1-0 to Aston Villa in their last fixture. Whiteley outlined how things are looking in the Liverpool camp.

“The squad is looking good; the players are very experienced.” Whiteley went on to explain that keeper Rachael Laws will not be in the squad due to an injury, however, both Leanne Kiernan and Ceri Holland have made progress: “Rachael Laws picked up a knock this week in training and she will be out for two weeks however Ceri Holland has made good progress as well as Leanne Kiernan but she is obviously a long way off.”

Above: Liverpool in training this week. Photo: Liverpool FC Women.

Whiteley confirmed just how hard this Women’s Super League is and how time is needed to adjust: “We know that it’s a difficult league and it would take time to adjust but now we’re really focussed on turning those performances into results”. The Reds are experiencing their first WSL campaign after two seasons in the Championship – a league they won at the end of the 2021/22 season.

When asked about Brighton’s interim head coach, the Liverpool assistant coach explained: “There is the element of the unknown for this weekend. But Amy Merricks has worked with Hope Powell for quite a long time, and we expect them to go back to basics. Amy is a well-experienced coach. We expect them to be well organised, well prepared for the game and it’s a difficult test for us.”

Liverpool are looking to bounce back from their recent results. The team look positive, the manager and assistant manager seem to be happy with how the squad are reacting and how well the training is going.

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