Now It's Liverpool's Turn
By Ed Wyatt
Well Manchester United did its job, dispatching a so-called A-League “All Star” squad 5-1 in Sydney. A crowd of 83, 127 watched the match and came away thrilled, with United displaying some offensive firepower against the outmanned All Stars.
Now it’s Liverpool’s turn and after a sluggish 2-0 win over an Indonesia XI, the Reds have rolled into Melbourne ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Melbourne Victory.
Hundreds of fans descended upon Tullamarine Airport on Monday hoping to greet their heroes, but the team was apparently ushered out through a side door. According to reports, fans did get the chance to cheer the team bus as it drove away.
Controversial star striker Luis Suarez – surely the main talking point of the tour – arrived in Melbourne on a separate flight but trained with the team later that day. At his media conference Monday, Brendan Rogers played it close to the vest, but did indicate that Suarez would see playing time against Victory.
Liverpool has a massive fanbase here and supporters are flying in from all around the country for the Reds' first-ever visit to Australia. Anfield heroes like Ian Rush are doing the radio rounds and Monday night Crown Casino hosted a “Celebrate Liverpool Down Under” event. Australia’s Liverpool legend Craig Johnston made an appearance as did Liverpool’s not-necessarily-finest the Bootleg Beatles.
It’s all part of the buildup to the highly-anticipated clash at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. All tickets have been sold and depending on the weather and the number of Melbourne Cricket Club members who attend, the crowd could push the 95,000 mark.
Ange Postecoglou, who coached the All Stars on Saturday, is back in charge of his club team, Melbourne Victory. Like the All Stars, Victory will be short a few stars, with talismanic striker Archie Thompson, rugged midfielder Mark Milligan and new signing Mitch Nichols away on international duty at the East Asian Cup.
But Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has taken pity on Postecoglou and allowed first choice Victory keeper Nathan Coe and exciting youngster Connor Pain to fly back from Korea for the Liverpool game.