Football: Liverpool to play Crystal Palace in Singapore at National Stadium on July 15

The Reds are in rampant form this season, sitting second in the Premier League. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The wait to see their heroes in person is over for local Liverpool fans as organisers of the inaugural Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy 2022 confirmed that the English Premier League giants will be in Singapore in mid-July.

Teg Sport and Left Field Live on Tuesday (April 26) revealed that the Reds will play fellow Premier League club Crystal Palace at the National Stadium on July 15 and will hold an open training session at the same venue the day before.

Tickets for the match start from $149 while those for the open training session are $39. They go on sale on May 17 at Ticketek Singapore's website.  

Only vaccinated people will be allowed into the 55,000-seater National Stadium for the match. Details such as pre-event requirements will be made available on the ticketing website. 

StarHub, home of the Premier League for the next six seasons, will also broadcast the match live on its new channel, Hub Premier.

With the country’s relaxed Covid-19 measures taking effect on Tuesday, the event is not expected to have a capacity limit, unlike December’s Suzuki Cup (10,000 per game) and the HSBC Singapore Rugby Sevens earlier this month (12,000 a day).

The exact number of tickets available for sale has not been revealed, but managing director of Teg Asia, Brendon Bainbridge, is confident of filling the stadium as he anticipates significant interest from fans here and in the region. 

He said: “Liverpool is a brand that is very strong in the region, not just in Singapore. There’s lots of pent-up demand for die-hard football fans to come along so we’re very confident. 

“It has been challenging but the news we got on Friday (about the relaxing of rules) has been encouraging. We’ve got almost three months till the match so we’re hoping for further easing."

While anticipation among Reds die-hards has been on a high since The Straits Times first reported the news on Feb 15, some have expressed concern on social media at the ticket prices.

They noted that they are much higher than the $38 starting price for the 2019 International Champions Cup Singapore, a quadrangular that featured English fan favourites Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan. It was the last time European giants set foot on the National Stadium turf.

Facebook user Clement Nedelcu wrote: "Uhhh.... $149? as much as I would like to attend after 2 years of covid, I'll have to pass. Going with the kids that would be a budget of $450. Sorry but no."

Others were wondering if they would get their money's worth. Teo Sisi said: "$149.00 better have 1st team, otherwise anyone think it's worth the price if they play reserve(s)?"

The Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy is part of both clubs' pre-season tour of Asia before the new season starts on Aug 6. Liverpool are also due to play Manchester United in Bangkok on July 12.

The last time Liverpool were in the Republic was in 2011 when they held an open training session. Before that, they beat the national team 5-0 in 2009 in a pre-season friendly also at the old National Stadium.

Ben Latty, commercial director of Liverpool, said the club are excited to take part and be in Singapore again.

He said: "Pre-season is a vital time of year for our players, it's hugely important preparation for the season ahead and it's also a perfect opportunity to meet with our fans around the world.

"We eagerly await the sound of our fans filling the National Stadium in Singapore as we take on Crystal Palace in July, it's going to be a great finish to our 2022/23 pre-season."

While Liverpool are no strangers to Singapore, it will be Crystal Palace's first visit to the Republic. However, they have played Liverpool in Asia, losing 2-0 in Hong Kong in a pre-season match in 2017.

Former Liverpool defender Jason McAteer and former Crystal Palace midfielder Andre Moritz at a football clinic at Serangoon Stadium on April 26, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The Eagles are currently 14th in the EPL standings. Led by Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, they made a brave run to the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2016, before going down 2-0 to Chelsea.

Palace chairman Steve Parish said the club are looking forward to seeing their fans in Singapore.

He added: "We know Singapore is full of passionate fans who follow the Premier League from afar and we hope to attract many more supporters to Crystal Palace by the end of our trip."

Former Palace midfielder Andre Moritz, who was present at Tuesday's press conference along with former Reds player Jason McAteer, said it would be a good experience for local football fans. 

The Hougang United player said: “I can see how much Singaporeans like the Premier League and how much they support their teams. This is the first main (football) event (since the pandemic) and it will be special.”

The Reds are in rampant form this season, chasing an unprecedented quadruple. They won the League Cup and are second in the Premier League, just one point behind defending champions Manchester City with five games left. 

They have also reached the Champions League semi-finals, where they will face Villareal over two legs, and will meet Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 14.

McAteer said: “We know (winning the quadruple) is doable but we don’t like to run away with ourselves. If we do it, fantastic. 

“Psychology plays a big part now. As far as we’re concerned, we can only do what we do and that’s win football games. I wouldn’t put it past them to win the Premier League. The Champions League is the one I really fancy in Paris but we’ve got to get past Villareal first. 

“We don’t want to be greedy but it would be nice if we do do it (win the quadruple).” 

Fans can register their interest for tickets on the waitlist on Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy 2022's website from Tuesday.

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