Wednesday night will be a celebration as Liverpool return to Oz to face recently crowned champions of the Hyundai A-League, Sydney FC, in a high-profile friendly at the 82,000-seat ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Over 70-80,000 fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone? Klopp v Arnie? Bobo and Lallana?
How can any fan miss this?
Fresh from finishing fourth in the English Premier League and claiming a coveted Champions League spot, Liverpool will be in celebration mode.
Sunday’s final day 3-0 win over Middlesbrough secured the Reds fourth spot and a Champions League berth next season (albeit initially in the qualifying stage).
But since that win, the Reds have been on a plane traversing the globe.
Liverpool arrive in Sydney 24 hours before kick-off, so perhaps fresh isn’t the best word to describe them on their first night in Sydney.
With this in mind, expect a raft of substitutions for the jet-lagged Reds with club legends and “guest” players Gerrard, Carragher and McManaman also expected to make late cameos as the pace slows.
Clearly Australia and the region love Liverpool.
The club have enjoyed memorable (and lucrative) trips Down Under since 2013 when they packed out the MCG.
Similarly, Sydney FC are on a high after completing the domestic double two weeks ago, with that a return to Champions League football across Asia in 2018.
And despite no Holosko and Ibini (both have moved on) and star man Milos Ninkovic (back in Serbia for family reasons), the Sky Blues will certainly be fresher than the Reds and keen to finish an incredible season with a win against EPL opposition.
They’ve gone close in the past against Chelsea and Spurs. Perhaps this is their best chance to produce a famous win to end a majestic campaign?
No Brazilian star Coutinho (though Aussie fans can see him for Brazil next month in Melbourne) for the Reds, but Firmino, Origi, Sturridge and Wijnaldum ensure it’ll be an attacking side with plenty of firepower.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Adam Lallana (Liverpool)
A joy to watch. Always wants the ball, creates from just in behind the strikers and can score. One of England’s best players right now.
Bobo (Sydney FC)
Sky Blues’ top scorer. Will relish the spotlight and will have sweet memories of ANZ after he scored in last October’s Sydney Derby.
Livewire Brazilian striker. Second only to Coutinho in total shots this season (106/100), topped chances created with 77, and scored 11 times.
Dave Carney (Sydney FC)
The winger was in super form as a late sub in the Grand Final and being a former Everton player, he’d love to put on over on the Reds. With two strikers out, expect him to start.
A perfect way to end the season for both clubs. Liverpool will bask in the glory of a near full house at ANZ and will still be celebrating returning to Europe’s top table, while there’ll be plenty of Sky Blue fans still in celebration mode after the fabulous season they’ve just witnessed.
It should be a noisy, passionate and entertaining contest.
Sydney FC 2 Liverpool 2