By Christopher Boulay
Liverpool recently landed in Boston to hang out at its tour headquarters, and a large group has already set up camp to prepare for the first of three matches. While the majority have arrived in Boston, some stragglers – including most of the players who participated in Euros – will be joining up later in the week. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know for the club on the pitch for the tour.
Saturday, July 21, 4 p.m. – Toronto v Liverpool – Rogers Centre
The matchup will be the first between the two sides, as Liverpool’s previous visit to North America was in 2004, three years before the Canadian club’s creation. Keep a look out for a young squad during this match, as many of the players are still looking to hook up with the side for the later matches.
This isn’t the first time Liverpool visited Toronto. In 2004, Rafa Benitez’s boys lost 1-0 to Porto in the SkyDome. Now named the Rogers Centre, the venue will be the club’s first destination on the three-match tour.
Expect Toronto to field an interesting squad. Major League Soccer is in full-swing, and many teams are not particularly keen on fielding a full squad against a European side. It is certainly a possibility that Toronto is short-handed this match. Furthermore, Toronto just lost one of its best players to injury. Danny Koevermans, the 33-year-old former Dutch international, tore his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the club’s season. This is just the latest of many setbacks for the side this season. At present, the club has 16 points, which is worst in MLS.
Wednesday, July 25 7p.m. – Liverpool v Roma – Fenway Park
Liverpool should get a stronger test against AS Roma, as the clubs will clash in Boston in a mid-week match at Fenway Park. Liverpool has never played at the venue before, but is not unfamiliar with New England. On the previous tour, the club played Celtic in Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, rolling to a 5-1 victory.
Roma recently sold Fabio Borini to Liverpool, and this will likely be his first time in a Liverpool kit. Not only should that be a reason for fans to watch, but it is also another chance to relive the 1984 European Cup Final, where the Merseyside club picked up its fourth of five Champions League trophies. The two clubs met in America before, in 2004, where Liverpool edged out the Italian side 2-1, thanks to goals from Michael Owen and Djibril Cisse.
Saturday, July 28, 1 p.m. – Liverpool v Tottenham – M&T Bank Stadium
Tottenham and Liverpool are both quite familiar with one another, and the two sides have become quite competitive in recent years. Both will enter the Europa League this season, and are on relatively level playing fields. This could be a good opportunity for each club to see where its at, as the Premier League season is quickly approaching.
This is the second time Tottenham has come to the United States, and its supporters pool in the country is growing. The last time the club was here was in 2010, as it played San Jose, Red Bull New York and Sporting Clube de Portugal. Liverpool fans should not only expect a strong performance from the Lilywhites, but also a significant presence from Tottenham’s supporters.
LFC Boston will have you covered for each match preview and report as the tour continues. Keep checking the site, as well as the group’s Twitter account.