Reds stars Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez are expected to play against Victory. Image courtesy of skysports.com
Football fans in Australia will get their second dose of Premier League action in the space of four days on Wednesday night when Liverpool faces Melbourne Victory at the MCG in front of what is expected to be 95,000 fans; the biggest crowd the Reds (and Victory) will have ever played in front of.
Liverpool started its tour of Asia and the Pacific with a scrappy 2-0 win over an Indonesia XI on Saturday. The team is just three weeks in to its pre-season, but manager Brendan Rodgers has stated his top-liners, including Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, will all have a part to play against Victory. He expects his players to spend no more than an hour on the park at this stage of their preparation for the EPL season.
Suarez was given extra time off after the Confederations Cup, but despite expressing his desire to leave Anfield, he landed in Melbourne on Sunday where he joined the rest of the squad. On Wednesday he will step on to the same ground where his native Uruguay was eliminated from the race to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. It will be interesting to see how the crowd responds to a player who has been banned for racial abuse, biting an opponent, and making an obscene gesture at opposition fans in the past two seasons.
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has released Victory ‘keeper Nathan Coe and midfielder Connor Pain from his East Asian Cup squad to return home to take on the Reds. Victory finished third on the A-League table last season before eventual champion Central Coast knocked the Melburnians out of the finals. It was a successful first season for Ange Postecoglou at the helm of Victory; his team was especially solid at home where it finished with nine wins and three draws from 15 starts 9-3-3.
Liverpool struggled on its pre-season tour last year. The Reds played three games in North America where they drew 1-1 with Toronto FC, lost 2-1 to Roma in Boston before playing out a scoreless draw with Tottenham Hotspur in Baltimore.
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