The pre-season friendly cannot get any better, with two European giants -- Liverpool and Barcelona -- set to play in the iconic Wembley stadium on Saturday. With quality players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez (Barcelona) and Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), the contest is expected to be an entertaining affair, and fans should love the skills on show before the domestic season kicks-off.
What makes the pre-season friendly even more special is the presence of former Liverpool players like Suarez and Javier Mascherano, who presently ply their trade in Barcelona. Both the players were hugely successful and fans' favourite during their Liverpool days, so they should get plenty of cheers from the Reds supporters as well. No wonder, tickets for the clash have been sold out.
Though it may be a friendly, Liverpool and Barcelona will take this match seriously to emerge victorious. Liverpool might have been decent in the preseason so far, but this match against Barcelona is going to be their litmus test.
It is a chance for Liverpool to make a statement of intent, and send warning signs to their English Premier League rivals. A positive result here will give them immense confidence ahead of their mega opener against Arsenal.
Klopp is expected to field a strong team, comprising stars like Sturridge, Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren. Such players will add flair, but Klopp will want to make sure that these players click as a unit against Barcelona. Besides the established players, Liverpool will use new signings like Marko Grujic, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sadio Mane, who have impressed in the pre-season campaign so far.
The new players might have been good so far, but playing against a quality team like Barcelona in the pre-season is a different matter altogether. Their character will also be tested against Barcelona, who love to play possession based football, like Liverpool.
Talking about Barcelona, they have been one of the most dominant teams for the last couple of years in the La Liga. With players like Messi and Suarez, they have an attack which can open any top defence in the world with their bamboozling skills.
Fans in England have not witnessed Messi play much in England, so this will come as another golden opportunity to get a glimpse of one of the biggest names in world football. Barcelona have just played two friendlies, and this game against Liverpool is also their biggest one. They played against Celtic and EPL champions Leicester City, and both the teams finished second best.
Barcelona must be aware that Liverpool will not make their life any easy in Wembley. One of their best player, Suarez has some happy memories at Liverpool, and considers it be a good moment to play against the Reds.
"It's a really nice moment for the supporters. I have some friends there and I think it's a really good moment to come back to play against Liverpool. I think for players when you play in front of 90,000 people, it's a dream. Liverpool's support is one of the best in the world and I think they are excited for the game to see great players on the pitch," Suarez told Liverpool official website.
"Everybody knows Liverpool is so important in my life, in my career, and my family as well. My second child was born there and I had a really good moment there. I think it's a nice moment for me."
Though Suarez might be eager to reunite with some of his old friends, make no mistake, the winning mentality of the striker is still the same. He will love to make it a night to remember, scoring goals against his former club, hence Liverpool defenders need to be on top of their game.
Liverpool squad: , Mignolet, ManningerClyne, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Wisdom, Henderson, Can, Grujic, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Lallana, Milner, Markovic, Ojo, Kevin Stewart, Brannagan, Sturridge, Firmino, Origi, Mane, Ings
Barcelona squad: Ter Stegen, Bravo, Masip, Douglas, Pique, Rakitic, Sergio, Arda, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Mascherano, Munir, Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Vermaelen, Mathieu, Denis, Samper, Digne, Cámara, Mujica and Alfaro.
Liverpool vs Barcelona schedule
Date: Aug.6, Saturday
Time: 5:15 local time (9:45 p.m IST, 12:15 p.m ET)
TV listings: India: Sony ESPN. UK: Sky Sports. US: ESPN. Spain: Tv3, La Sexta, Thailand: PPTV. China: Guangdong Sports Channel. Singapore: StarHub Go. Indonesia: iNewsTV. Canada: TSN. Australia: Optus Sport.