Thailand v Liverpool, pre-season friendly, July 22, 2009
After concluding the rather uninspiring European leg of their pre-season tour, Liverpool take their roadshow onto the Far East as they prepare to face Thailand at the Rajamangala Stadium on Wednesday before making the short trip to play Singapore on Sunday.
The Anfield giants have yet to score in pre-season, having drawn a blank in a stalemate with St. Gallen in game one and losing 1-nil to Rapid Vienna in game two last weekend. But it is worth pointing out that until now the Reds have been without their Spanish contingent this summer, however all that is set to change as Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa and Albert Riera have all rejoined the squad.
Unfortunately though for the excitable Thailand fans, they will miss out on catching Steven Gerrard in action as the Liverpool skipper was forced to stay in Blighty as he defends himself in court against charges arising out of an incident in a Southport bar at the end of 2008.
Rafa Benitez, as he has done throughout the pre-season so far, is likely to make up to eleven changes at halftime in the match in Thailand. That means that Glen Johnson should return to action for at least 45 minutes after the newly acquired fullback was forced to missed the Rapid match through injury. While Ryan Babbel will again be desperate to put in a headline grabbing performance as the Dutchman battles to keeps himself in the mix for a starting place in the forthcoming season.
In front of a packed 45,000 crowd, Peter Ried’s Thailand will be looking to put Liverpool through their paces.
Peter Reidâ€™s time as manager of Thailand has proving anything but boring. The Englishman impressively steered his side to the Suzuki Cup final at the end of 2008, eventually losing the showpiece final to Vietnam. And at the start of the year Thailand were involved in what may prove to be the most bizarre match of the year as, playing in the Kings Cup against Lebanon, the Middle East side twice walked off the pitch in protest at foul play against their opponents that prompted two on-field brawls. (Read more here.)
Liverpool, who have been charged as heading to the Far East simply as a money-making adventure, should have far too much talent for the Thais to contend with, and for the first time this summer the Reds could be set for a goal-rush.
101predicts: Thailand 0 – Liverpool 3 (13/2)
Full match odds here.