The domestic season has not started in England, and teams are gradually preparing with pre-season matches for the Premier League. Some of the top clubs from around the world are participating in the International Champions Cup. Among them are two giants of English football, Liverpool and Chelsea, who will face one another at Rose Bowl in California on Wednesday.
Though the match might be 'friendly,' there will be lots at stake for both teams. With managers like Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) and Antonio Conte (Chelsea), who are both passionate about the sport, they will not want anything, besides victory. Liverpool and Chelsea have always produced bitter contests, and this one could be no different.
Liverpool come into this International Champions Cup with their heads held high. They have not lost a single game in the pre-season, with all the players, including new signings, impressing their way to victory. But those victories were not against a top-side, so one cannot judge them much. A solid performance against Chelsea will count more.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have a brand new manager in the form of Antonio Conte, who is a master tactician as was witnessed in Euro 2016 when he was Italy's manager. His first assignment as Chelsea boss did not go his way as the Blues lost to Rapid Vienna 2-0, but Chelsea defeated WAC RZ Pellets in the second friendly match.
Up to the preseason friendlies so far, both Liverpool and Chelsea have not played with their strongest team as many of their stars were missing after their involvement in Euro 2016. But both teams will be back in decent strength, though fitness of these players may be a concern after the break.
With some top stars available for Klopp and Conte, the formation these respective managers would adopt in California remains to be seen. Klopp will be keen to provide much more playing time to his new signings, including Sadio mane, Joel Matip and Marko Grujic, who have all been impressive so far. They have gelled with the team, quite quickly. Add to this mix, the highly-rated Dutch international, Georginio Wijnaldum, who was the latest addition in the Liverpool squad, making their team look even more solid.
Talking about strong teams, Chelsea, without a shadow of doubt, will be a huge defensive unit, but it remains to be see if Conte plays three defenders at the back. Chelsea have taken a solid team for the competition, with the likes of Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard as their major attacking options. Chelsea added new quality players in the form of Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante as well.
After a below par performance from Chelsea last season, the Blues' players will be keen to send warning signs to other teams in the Premier league. This can happen with a huge win over Liverpool, who also have major ambitions this season.
One look at the team squad, and it is definitely one of the matches to watch in the International Champions Cup.
Chelsea vs Liverpool schedule
Date: Wednesday, July 28
Time: 8 p.m EDT (8:30 a.m IST, 4 a.m BST)
Venue: Rose Bowl in California
TV listings: India: Sony ESPN. The UK: LFC TV, Chelsea TV. The US: ESPN. Canada: TSN4. Australia: Optus Sport. Thailand: PPTV. Singapore: beIN Sports HD Singapore. Germany: Sport 1 Germany. China: Tianjin Sports Channel.