Football mania reached a fever pitch in Singapore when English Premier League clubs Liverpool and Crystal Palace came for the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy pre-season match in July 2022. Fans packed the hotels and sponsor events to catch a glimpse of their football heroes, and roared on their teams at the National Stadium, with the biggest crowd attendance at a sports event since the COVID-19 pandemic.
JURGEN KLOPP: These trips are really a wonderful thing. The only problem is that you have to fly 14, 15 hours, and you train in completely different times. Humidity is not exactly that, but we are used to it. So it's good and not so good. The best thing about it is we come closer to our fan base. So that's how it is. So the fan base in Asia, especially, we know how big it is. And we know how important it is to come. And we really love doing it.
From a training point of view-- and first and foremost, I'm a coach. And it's not my favorite thing to do because if we can go two weeks to Austria and train twice a day, that would be better. But the most important thing is to come here and let the people see us. And not only on television, but life as well. We have today here, I heard, about 12,000 people for the open session, the open training session. That's absolutely impressive. [LAUGHS] That's really great.
We have to train really intense, hard a lot to get the players in the right physical state for the whole season. So pre-season games are important. But the most important games are coming up in a few weeks, and that's when we have to be ready.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK: Well, yeah, now it's a new year, new chances. Everyone starts from scratch from a new. And they'll give their best. The club reacted with getting Bowen in, obviously a very good player, to play for now but also for the future for the club, I think. So we'll see. You know, it's only been 5 sessions and 30-minutes game. So we'll see what happens.
FABINHO TAVARES: We hope to play our best football. But maybe physically, we are not yet in our, you know, best shape. But we'll be nice to be part in front of the thousands of our fans, maybe fans who don't have often the opportunity to see the play. So of course, we want to play a good football for the fans here in Singapore.
PATRICK VIEIRA: It's no easy game playing against Liverpool. I think we're facing a team that will be there at the top to challenge for the title and will be there, I believe, to challenge for winning the Champions League. So like you said, this is a preparation that will give us and give me as a manager a really good idea about where we are. And I think that it's a really good game preparation for us.
And of course, we know how difficult and challenges that game will be. But we are in preparation. And we will learn a lot tomorrow about where we are and which part of the game that we need to focus on, because the objective and the main focus for us is to be ready for the first game of the season.
ANDY ROBERTSON: You know, the fatness is there. It's just slowly but surely getting back, getting rid of that wee bit of the rustiness and things like that. And yeah, look, you know, we've obviously got, I think, two or three more games before, you know, the Man City game. And, you know, we have to be ready for that. So I think now we fly back, you know, maybe a day off, and then we ramp up a wee bit more. And then we go to Austria. And, you know, I'm fully expecting Austria to be tough. [INAUDIBLE].
You know, we look forward to that because we know we'll come out better for it. And then we should be ready for the season to start.