The Victorian and NSW governments are expected to go head-to-head in a bitter battle to secure the rights to host Barclays Premier League giant Liverpool for a friendly match in July.
Liverpool officials attended Saturday night’s A-League match between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC at AAMI Park and are in talks with Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and Football Federation Australia for the Reds to make their first visit to the country.
Leading agent Lou Sticca, who brought David Beckham to Australia three times as well as Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero to Sydney FC, is the man behind the Liverpool venture.
It is believed it will cost somewhere around $2.5m, though that will be easily offset because the game would be a guaranteed money-spinner. While Liverpool has not had much success in recent times, the club is an iconic football entity and boasts massive worldwide support almost the equal of Manchester United.
Uruguay international Luis Suarez and club legend Steve Gerrard headline a squad that is starting to produce some quality football and results under new coach Brendan Rodgers. The Victorian government is keen to get away from the “gimmicky” All-Stars concept and wants the English club to play Melbourne Victory, the best-supported club in the A-League, at the MCG in a game that would draw at least 80,000.
However, Victoria is in for some stiff competition as ANZ Stadium officials have been in discussions with Liverpool for some time now and are determined to put another one over Victoria. If Sydney gets the match, which will most likely be held on July 28, it is envisaged Liverpool will also play against the A-League stars, who would be kept together after the Manchester United fixture.
“You saw what happened with the ticket sales for the Manchester United match . . . They sold out to the football family in 30 minutes while tickets to the general public went in two minutes,” an ANZ Stadium spokesman said. “We are sure there would be a similar response from the public with Liverpool.
“We have been in discussions with the club for some time now. Manchester United is OK with them coming out and the NSW government is OK with the idea as well. If we get Liverpool it will be the icing on the cake for a super July of sport at ANZ Stadium and in NSW.”