Matt Beard shares credit after being named WSL manager of the season

Beard led Liverpool to fourth place, their best finish since 2014.

Matt Beard has won the Barclays Manager of the Season award
Matt Beard has won the Barclays Manager of the Season award

Liverpool boss Matt Beard insists his Barclays manager of the season award is “great recognition for everyone” after finishing fourth in the Women’s Super League.

Liverpool achieved their highest position since 2014, when they won the WSL title, and ended the campaign with four straight wins including victories over Chelsea and Manchester United, which helped them finish above the latter.

Beard was recognised for his team’s performance over the course of the season by being given the award at the League Managers Association dinner.

“I’m very grateful and very humbled,” Beard told the PA news agency.

“It’s great to see the work we have done has been recognised as always, we couldn’t do it without the staff or the players so this award is not just about me, it’s about the collective so from that side it’s great recognition for everyone.

“It’s not just me. I’m the figurehead of it all but the players have performed, the staff have worked tirelessly for the club.

“It’s an interesting one, could we do a whole backroom team award rather than a manager’s one because there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes with people we don’t see.

“I get a bit embarrassed by it all if I’m honest with you but for me, I couldn’t do what I do without the people I have with me.”

Liverpool’s fourth place finish was their highest since 2014
Liverpool’s fourth place finish was their highest since 2014 (Nick Potts/PA)

Liverpool’s fourth place finish behind Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal took them to within one spot of qualifying for the Champions League, which Beard insists is the next obvious goal for them as they look to build on a successful season.

He added: “The Champions League is the logical next step for us. We are under no illusions on how tough that will be, you can even include Manchester United in that, what they spend.

“Statistically we were much better than what we were last year so now we need to step that up a level next season.

“It’ll be tough to break into that top three, Man United are the only team that’s done it – that’s our ambition but for me it’s about how we improve on this season’s points tally.”

Liverpool previously used to share League Two club Tranmere’s training ground before spending a number of week’s at the men’s AXA training centre, but moved back into the men’s team’s former facility Melwood ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Beard insists the move into their own facility has been key to their success on the field this season.

He said: “Whenever you share a facility like we did at Tranmere – and I had a great working relationship with the staff there – it’s their training ground so we are constantly having to work around them.

“Even when we were at the academy at pre-season we were having to work around the (under-)21s so to have your own bespoke facility, it’s vitally important so we’re not having to move training sessions or classroom sessions for whatever reason.

“The facility itself is world-class, there’s a lot of history created here so that’s also had a big impact on the players as well.”