Gemma Bonner has had a tough couple of weeks. Her Liverpool side were knocked out of the Continental Cup by Birmingham City at the quarter-final stage – a single-goal defeat coming in the very last minute of extra-time.
“It was really disappointing from our point of view,” said the captain.
“During the game we had chances where we could have scored, and probably should have scored.
“Our performance wasn’t one of our best on the day, but to lose out with the last kick of the game, it was really disappointing for us.”
Bonner skippers a side that has undergone a great deal of upheaval in recent months, with new manager Scott Rogers bringing in fresh faces – many of whom are full internationals, including England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain, Wales’ Sophie Ingle and Scotland’s Caroline Weir.
“We had a slow start to the season,” Bonner admitted.
“But I think that was to be expected with the amount of players that we’ve brought in. It’s a very young squad, we’re still learning game by game.”
She has been delighted to welcome the new players, who have fitted in quickly thanks to a sensible recruitment strategy.
“For me, my job hasn’t been as hard as it sounds,” she said.
“The girls that have come in have been brilliant. Off the pitch we’ve got a really good bond – they’re not only good players but good people.
“That’s the good thing, at Liverpool it’s something we’ve been strong at: we bring the right people to the club.
“There are a lot of players who have played together or knew each other from previous clubs, so I think from that point of view it helps settle the team quite quickly.”
One of those newer recruits is Alex Greenwood, who caught the eye on the left flank for England in Canada last summer.
She tore ankle ligaments in training – and has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Bonner is sad for her colleague and the loss to the team, but guarantees that the lively Greenwood will still be in the dressing room and part of the squad.
“It’s devastating for any player, she’ll be a big loss for us,” says Bonner.
“We’ll definitely miss her on the pitch, but we’re all there supporting her – and it gives an opportunity to other players.”
As the Women’s Super League season enters its final weeks, Liverpool are slap-bang in the middle of the nine-team table. Bonner is confident that her team can step it up and move towards the top of the league.
“One thing we’ve done well lately is concentrate on the one game in front of us and get our performance right,” she said.
“There [have] been a few points we dropped along the way – but now we’re looking to win as many as possible.”
* ‘The Roar of the Lionesses: Women’s Football in England’ is out now – available in all good bookshops *