The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Joshua Richards

IT’S been a year to for­get on the do­mes­tic front for Liver­pool, but goal­keeper Libby Stout says their up­com­ing Cham­pi­ons League tie can breathe new life into their cam­paign.

The back-to-back WSL 1 cham­pi­ons lie sixth in the ta­ble and Stout ad­mits in­con­sis­tency has cost them.

But this week a new fo­cus came to the fore, af­ter they were paired with Ital­ian side Bres­cia in the Cham­pi­ons League last 32.

And, hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced a Euro­pean ad­ven­ture with the Reds last year – bow­ing out at the same stage to Swedish side Linkop­ings – Stout can­not wait for another taste of the ac­tion.

“I loved play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League last year,” said the Amer­i­can. “There’s a dif­fer­ent at­mos­phere about these games, they were my favourite ones to play in last year.

“I’m in­ter­ested to see how the game is played in Italy and how well re­ceived it is. “There will be lots of ex­cite­ment about the game. Liver­pool has a fol­low­ing all over the world.

“Last year we played Linkop­ings and there was a Swedish sup­port­ers club that came, there were about 50 guys.

“At first I didn’t re­alise and I thought they were heck­ling us. But then they started singing about Steven Ger­rard and You’ll Never Walk

Alone. It was great. “Hope­fully we can get some­thing sim­i­lar in Italy. There is al­ways a lit­tle group that fol­low us wher­ever we go.We are so grate­ful for the sup­port.”

The two-legged tie is set to take place in Oc­to­ber, fol­low­ing the im­me­di­ate con­clu­sion of the WSL sea­son.

Sur­ren­der­ing their ti­tle will no doubt be painful, es­pe­cially with all of the sides above them seem­ingly still ca­pa­ble of lift­ing the tro­phy.

But Stout ad­mits the in­creased amount of com­pe­ti­tion this term is good for the game and she ex­pects Liver­pool, who took on Bristol Academy yesterday, to be as strong as ever in 2016.

“The dif­fer­ence this sea­son, I think, is that other teams are bet­ter or­gan­ised, play­ers have de­vel­oped and we have been in­con­sis­tent,” added the 26year-old.

“But next year there is no rea­son to think we can’t do bet­ter and be fight­ing for the ti­tle again.”


AIM­ING HIGH: Liver­pool keeper Libby Stout CHAM­PI­ONS: Liver­pool Ladies’ Gemma Bon­ner holds the WSL tro­phy high

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