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Kearns: The football-mad kid living out a dream at Liverpool

There are precious few players deemed important enough for a mural on the ascent to Anfield.

Some of the names include Steven Gerrard, Bobby Firmino, Trent Alexander Arnold and of course the empirical Mo Salah. There are also multiple depictions of Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool’s most successful manager of the Premier League era.

The latest artwork to appear on this illustrious list is Missy Bo Kearns, a Liverpool native, playing out her dream by representing her beloved childhood club in the Women’s Super League.

Bo, as she’s known to team-mates, is approaching 100 appearances for the Reds. At the tender age of 22, that’s some going. “When I was eight, I wanted to be Steven Gerrard,” she says, in a soft Scouse accent, sitting in a room adjacent to the pristine training pitches at Melwood.

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“I thought I’d be playing for the men’s team,” she joked, half seriously.

Like the vast majority of Merseysiders, Bo is fanatical about football, and Liverpool FC. “I’m like a kid in my head, I’d play three of four matches a week if I could. I just want to play football and enjoy it,” she continued.

But this season has been met by some struggles. The England youth international has only started seven league games, playing a total of 590 minutes – roughly half of all WSL minutes available. She has continued to make an impact in games but, as a forward, it is goals and assists she craves.

“I just want to score a goal to be honest,” she replied when questioned about targets for 2024. Her infectious sense of humour maintained, she added: “I’m having one of those seasons where my shots are when goalkeepers win ‘save of the week’.”

Emma Koivisto, Missy Bo Kearns and Sophie Roman Haug celebrate Liverpool's equaliser, an own goal scored by Millie Turner
Image: Missy Bo Kearns (left) is keen to hone her game in front of goal – she’s only registered one assist (no goals) this term.

Every forward goes through droughts, it’s part of the professional game, and the No 7 has exactly the right mentality to confront her concerns head on. Try, and try again.

“I’ve got high standards, but I just need to relax when I get into good positions. I’m snatching at things.

“If you’re from Liverpool not many things are handed to you, you’ve got to work hard, and that’s the attitude I’ve always had. I want to spread that. You’ve got to bite your lip and keep going.”

Solutions, not problems, is the Liverpool way, she insists. It’s an ethos that needs to carry into this weekend with a trip to Brighton on the horizon, live on Sky Sports.

Liverpool have failed to win any of their last three WSL ties (D1 L2). They haven’t failed to win four in a row since a run of seven without victory between September and November 2022.

“There’s no fixture in this league where you can turn up and have an off day and not get punished. We started the season on such a good footing by upsetting Arsenal.

“There’s been a huge uplift, as a team, from last season and the season before. We aren’t a side who is going to sit off to try and nick a draw, every game we want to win.

“We work hard, and we will punish you if you give us the chance.”

Taylor Hinds celebrates after giving Liverpool a first-half lead against Manchester City
Image: Liverpool have pulled off some big upsets this season, beating Arsenal at the Emirates and defeating nemesis Man Utd at Anfield

She pauses, and leans in: “If you know, you know.”

Statistically speaking, Bo is yet to reach her professional prime, but the attack-minded midfielder-cum-winger is consistently picked to captain England’s U23s. In March, the young Lionesses will embark on a unique camp alongside Sarina Wiegman’s senior side, where watchful eyes will be able to glance over the talent in the youth ranks.

“The set-up at England is unbelievable. It gives the U23s a chance to prove themselves in an environment close to the seniors,” Bo says, excited at the prospect. “I’m a dreamer, but I also work hard and hopefully one day my time will come.”

The Reds academy graduate made her professional debut for Liverpool a few months shy of her 18th birthday, but football isn’t just about what happens on the pitch for Bo. It’s about culture, identity and belonging. It’s about inspiring and giving back. “Football is everything to this city,” she continued.

“I was that kid who wanted to be a professional footballer once. If I can have an impact on youngsters growing up in Liverpool I’d love to, young girls or boys.

Missy Bo Kearns is challenged by Megan Finnigan
Image: The Liverpool forward is relishing the challenge of becoming a more senior figure

“I’ve been going to Anfield to watch games since I was a kid. I followed Liverpool everywhere. Now if young girls are going to the match, they walk past my mural, I hope they’re inspired. My proudest moment is inspiring young girls, and showing this is possible. There’s a pathway to dreams.”

Liverpool boasts an incredible collection of street art, and now there’s another walled hero for fans to admire. Bo gladly accepts the responsibility. Now comes the time to deliver.

Watch Brighton vs Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Mix from 11.30am; kick-off 12pm.

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