Pre-Season: Time To Get Friendly
Ah pre-season ! The sun is out, the transfer window has swung open like a barn door in a twister and the players are back sweating off their holidays. And for us fans we eagerly await to see our heroes old and new parade out in new kits in exhibition matches in foreign lands.
And for Liverpool this year that means a trip stretching from Asia to Scandinavia and a few matches a bit closer to home. The friendly schedule is as follows:
Sat 13th @ 3:00pm = Preston North End
Our first friendly is just a few days away against Preston at Deepdale. This match is to celebrate Bill Shankly in which would be his centenary year with the winner claiming the “Shankly Sheild”. Both clubs have a link to the great man as before he turned Liverpool into a powerhouse of football he had played 297 times for PNE between 1933 and 1949. I would hope to see a team made up of a mix of first teamers and the youngsters and hopefully a few of our new signings as some of the Confederations Cup players have an extended break to recover.
Asia Tour :-
Sat 20th @ 2:30 pm = Indonesia XI
Wed 24th @ 11:00 am = Melbourne Victory
Sun 28th @ 11:45 am = Thailand
The next three pre-season fixtures consist of trips to Jakarta, Melbourne and Bangkok for a tour to Asia with the highlight being playing A-League outfit Melbourne Victory at the MCG. Their probably most well-known player at present is Australia international Archie Thompson and former squad members include Kevin Muscat and the legend of the Anfield Physio’s table, Harry Kewell.
Games against an Indonesian XI and the Thai national team shouldn’t cause any problems and offer our fanatical Asian fans a chance to see their idols close up. To be honest the early friendlies are all about fitness with the rest helping to fine-tune tactics and build some momentum.
Sat 3rd @ 12:45 pm = Olympiacos
Our only home friendly comes in the shape of a testimonial match for our captain fantastic Steven Gerrard with proceeds with this match and other events celebrating his testimonial year going to the Steven Gerrard Foundation. The match will of course bring back memories of that night in 2005 when he dragged us through against the Greeks with that wonder-strike.
Certainly the toughest opposition of the summer so far they are the most successful club in Greek football and are the current league champions. Current players include two former Manchester based players in ex United Goalie Roy Carroll and ex City forward Vladimir Weiss and are managed by Real Madrid midfielder and Sevilla manager Michel.
Wed 7th @ 6:00pm = Valerenga
Our penultimate friendly entails a trip to Norway to face Valerenga, who we have actually faced twice before in pre-season in 2008 and 2011. This friendly also has celebratory connotations as they are celebrating their 100th anniversary. As with the Asian tour, this friendly allows another foreign fan-base a chance to see LFC play. In terms of their roster, fans of the MLS will recognize former NY Red Bull and Norway midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli.
Sat 10th @ 3:00 pm = Celtic
Our final friendly is a cracker of a game in Dublin against Celtic. You’ll Never Walk Alone will ring out around all four sides of the Aviva Stadium as the two Northern Irish managers lead their teams out. They were the first team we faced post Hillsborough in the memorial match and we also faced them in Connecticut pre season in 2004.
I must admit I am looking forward to this one as two clubs with fantastic histories and a special connection face each other in Ireland.
If you don’t fancy travelling to Asia or Norway this summer then you can watch our friendlies in the following places:
The first four friendlies are to be shown on ESPN and BT have the rights to the Olympiacos match. In terms of the other two matches are yet to be revealed.
All matches will also be shown live on LFCTV Online for subscribers and at later times on LFCTV.