Liverpool boss Vicky Jepson defended her team after a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, describing winger Lauren James as a player that no centre-back in the league ‘can deal with’.
Teenager James made her full debut on Saturday and marked it with a goal, before former Red Katie Zelem wrapped up the points from the spot.
But Jepson was bullish after the game, dismissing the idea that her team’s defending helped United claim all three points.
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“Listen, I’ve worked with Lauren James at international set-up. She’s an incredible kid - you can’t show her right and you can’t show her left, because she can play off both feet,” she said.
“I don’t think you can tell me one centre half in the league who can deal with Lauren James because she’s an incredible player.
“However, I felt the amount of times she got in the box - she only got scored one goal, so I think that’s credit to our back four in dealing with her.
“It’s tough because first 45 minutes, we really did frustrate them. We were really disciplined in our shape.
“I thought you couldn’t pick faults with our defensive shape, and actually the pace that we caused them down the sides caused them to make a sub in the second half, with Lotta [Okvist] coming off to put Amy Turner in, which was a good change for Casey [Stoney, Man United manager] to make, because they were struggling to deal with Rinsola [Babajide]. She got in loads of times.”
With Man United admittedly not at the races in the first half, Liverpool were the better team, enjoying good spells of possession and carving out chances.
But their problem was taking them – with them still yet to score a goal in the WSL this year.
“We had three or four opportunities first half when we could have taken the game,” Jepson continued.
“Those opportunities are absolutely vital if we want to start getting points in this league.
“Overall, we conceded a penalty last minute, but we were chucking everything at it.
“We went to three at the back, chasing the game, so you’re going to be exposed a little bit on the transition.
“But I thought all in all there are many positives.
“Yes, we lost, yes I’m absolutely gutted because I hate losing, especially to United. But it was marginal. The last three league games have been marginal defeats.”
Liverpool will now have chance to regroup as the international break looms, with their next game at home to Bristol City in two weeks’ time.
“I think this international window has come at the right time for us to reset and refocus,” Jepson said.
“We’ve got a good friendly lined up next week that will help us work on what we’ve looked at and what we’ve been working on over the past couple of weeks.
“If we were miles away and we were getting battered every week, then I’d probably be looking old and grey.
“But I’m looking smiley because I know that and I belief believe in my squad that we’re going to get points soon, and the second we click and we get it right going forwards, we’re going to cause teams a lot of problems.”