THOUGH Liverpool’s domination of the Women’s Super League is over, in-form striker Natasha Dowie insists the season can still be deemed a success if they win the Continental Tyres Cup.
Since the opening-day defeat to newly-promoted Sunderland, the Reds have been playing catch-up in WSL 1 and can now finish no higher than fifth.
Yet in the Continental Tyres Cup they have shone and no-one has done so brighter than star striker Dowie.
Five goals in five group stage games was followed up by all four in the weekend’s quarter-final defeat of Bristol Academy.
But 27-year-old Dowie – niece of former Northern Ireland international Iain – chose not to take home the match ball as a memento, instead saving space in her flat for an even greater prize.
“Maybe if we get to the final and I score a hat-trick I’ll keep that one,” she said.
“It was an important game to win, but I didn’t take the ball home, I don’t think about things like that. The only time I have done it was when I scored a hat-trick in the derby against Everton. That meant a lot to me.
“I still feel like we have a lot to play for. We are in the semi-finals of the Continental Tyres Cup and we have got the Champions League to come.
“If we can bring some silverware home to Liverpool then I think we have to look at this as a successful season.
“We’ve had injuries this year which have affected us. We haven’t had just one or two, we’ve had six, seven, eight major players out at a time.
“No-one can say it hasn’t affected us, but that’s the situation. We never feel sorry for ourselves though.
“The whole squad have done their best to step up, the younger players have played well, so we want to finish on a high.”
Twelve of Dowie’s 13 goals this season have come in her last 12 games, yet she was overlooked for the England squad, set to take on Estonia in tomorrow’s Euro 2017 qualifier.
She was not the only in-form absentee, with WSL 1 top-scorer Beth Mead also omitted despite Mark Sampson selecting seven forwards.
But Abu Dhabi-born Dowie has not given up hope yet of adding to her 14 England caps.
“I want to play for my country so I was disappointed not to be picked, but that’s Mark Sampson’s decision and I have to respect that,” added Dowie.
“I’m enjoying my football and people can see my scoring record is good, I just need to keep playing well for Liverpool and hopefully I can get back in.
“But if I don’t then so be it, I have to respect that, I have a very lucky life playing football.
“In the second half of the season I’ve been pleased with my performances. I’ve had more opportunities in the second half of the season than the first and it’s good to be taking them. It’s great to be scoring, but I want to be winning as well.
“We’ve had a good run in the cup, so hopefully I can keep scoring in the league as well to ensure we have the best finish possible.”