The Lionesses are aiming to continue to build on their back-to-back Championship wins when they come up against a tough Liverpool side, who are unbeaten in four games, this Sunday.
Liverpool comes into this fixture after a comfortable 4-0 win against Crystal Palace and 3 consecutive clean sheets in the Championship. The Lionesses will be full of confidence after another strong display last Sunday against Coventry United, getting all three points in the 2-0 victory.
Speaking about the huge 3 points gained against Coventry last Sunday, Lionesses Head Coach Mel Phillips said "The girls are ecstatic about it. I think one of the things that we're most pleased about is we took some things that we've been working on in training and were able to execute in the match. But we actually all walked away from the match feeling deserved of our three points, but really eager to get going again on the field and in training. We knew that it wasn't our best performance but loads of lessons to build upon and some exciting things to take forward into next weekend".
How pleased was Phillips with the performance against Coventry?
Phillips responded "Yeah, incredibly pleased with the performance. We're really happy to walk away with a clean sheet, but also equally being able to implement some of the things that we've been working on the attacking side of the ball was fantastic. So, I think we all left the game feeling positive with another result. But then eager to get back on the field, get together as a team, work on the minor details of the game, and ultimately prepare us for the next opposition. So, I think the group's feeling super positive and eager to get back after it in training today".
Last season the Lionesses away form proved to be better than when at home. Now Princes Park is becoming a fortress for the Lionesses with 3 wins on the bounce and opposition teams struggling to pick up points. Phillips commented "Absolutely. I think that's something that we talked about early on in the season, that we want to make Princes Park a difficult place to play. A fortress is exactly what we're trying to do. So, incredibly pleased with the clean sheet and it's something that we want to take into each of our next games".
What kind of match is Phillips expecting against Liverpool on Sunday?
"I think every League opponent is going to be a difficult game for us and each opposition presents something new. Liverpool are incredibly quality, and I think that they feel they've got a bit to prove from being in this league this year. We look forward to it, we prepare for it the same, making sure that each match is as important as the next match and that's the focus this week in training."
"Like I said before, each game is an opportunity for us to get three points and we'll focus on our own preparation. I think that's the biggest part for us, we build our momentum, and we build our belief at training with each other and in meetings and how we prepare each day for the weekend ahead. So, of course, we want the three points, but our focus is going to be on the performance that we put in on the day" replied Phillips.
How will Phillips prepare for the game this Sunday?
"Liverpool's had a really good start to the first half of the league, and they have a ton of quality within their team. For us though again, it's always going to be about ourselves and what we bring to the table and how we prepare for that. We'll make some adjustments tactically, but for us, we want to make sure that we go out each game and build on who we are, our identity from a style of play standpoint, but also from a culture standpoint" replied Phillips.
With three wins in their last five fixtures, with the pick of the bunch being a 4-1 win against league leaders Leicester, what are the targets and ambitions for the Lionesses this season?
Phillips replied "I think the main focus for our team since I took over is just building our identity. To be able to produce a result like that against the team who's top the table right now, does fill us with confidence but even more so it just provides us with belief in who we are and the direction that we're going in. And that's something that we speak about a lot, belief versus confidence because I think confidence can waver from moment to moment. But believing in who you are and what we're doing is really what we're all about. And what's going to hopefully produce some long-term results for us".
"I think the foundation of our success is always going to be around work ethic and attitude. And how that translates on both sides of the ball. We want to be organized. We want to be tough to break down. We want to be a team that nobody likes playing because being that they know they're going to be difficult to score against, but we also want to be a high-energy attacking oriented high pressing type of team".
"Our ambition is to be promoted. But that's the overarching goal. It's the day-to-day process that we focus on and everything that's going to make us successful within that. So, like I said before, it's about our identity. It's about belief in the group. It's about culture. That's a huge piece of it for me".
Lionesses defender Harley Bennett has been ever-present in the Lionesses line-up so far this season and has been given the captain's armband in a couple of fixtures. Is she enjoying the responsibility and the level of competition in the side?
Bennett replied "Obviously we've got a lot of new players. I just try to work hard and instil myself in the team as best I could.
"I always try and lead by example, whether it's in training or meetings and we've got quite a lot of young players. It's an honour to lead the team".
What challenges will Liverpool give the Lionesses, and will they challenge for the title?
Bennett said "Yeah, obviously they came down from the Women's Super League last year and kept a lot of their players. I don't think they actually got many new players in, so for us to test ourselves against a great team will be good for us because I think we can compete, we showed that against Leicester.
"I think without a doubt they'll be up there. They've got the quality. They've got a few key players, which I think are game changers and that will score goals.
"They've started off really well and because of the league, they've come from they're used to playing really strong opposition week in week out. But I think equally with our league as well, It's very close too. They've had to carry on that momentum and the quality within their team".
What match is Bennett expecting against Liverpool?
"Yeah, we expect it to be a tough game without a doubt. They've got a lot of quality and a lot of good players. They've started off really well and they've got a bit of momentum on their side. So, I think it'll be a very interesting game and a good game to watch".
You can follow the build-up to Sunday's game at 2pm along with live match updates via the London City Lionesses Twitter feed.
Written by Will Oxenham Babb