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50,217 Saw Liverpool claimed The Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy

Nineteenth-time English league champions Liverpool concluded their South East Asian tour with a 2-0 win over fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace to clinch the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy last evening at the National Stadium.

The result meant the Reds fly out of the region with a record of a win and a defeat (4-0 loss to Manchester United in Bangkok).

Liverpool fans at the match (credit: Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy 2022)

In front of 50,217 fans, the fixture was the first that featured the two European top-flight clubs played in Singapore since 2019.

Other than a small number of Palace fans that congregated behind one of the goals, it was almost a partisan Liverpool crowd that recreated the Anfield atmosphere at Kallang, such as the rendition of the club's iconic anthem - "You'll Never Walk Alone" during the night.

Liverpool took an early in the 13th minute when skipper Jordan Henderson fired past Eagles' keeper Vicente Guaita in the box after latched onto a pass cut in from right by Harvey Elliott.

Palace 'keeper Vicente Guaita couldn't stop Henderson's opener

Crowd favourite Mohamed Salah made his appearance in style in the second half when he doubled the tally in the 47th minute, even before the stadium announcer could announce he was brought in to replace Luis Diaz after the interval in a massive shakeup in the Liverpool squad.

"Tonight we scored two goals, we took our chances and we passed well, we were solid with our defending," said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp after the win.

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson with the trophy

"When we played against (Manchester) United, we were not too solid, we were open more, so we were more compact today. We played really good football today and that’s why we scored twice." commented Klopp who was comparing the outcome in Singapore with the defeat to their arch-rivals days ago in Bangkok.

"It was a step in the right direction and this makes me really happy. We have to work a lot in the next four weeks, to prepare for the season." added the 55-year-old former Borussia Dortmund manager.

MATCH PUT SINGAPORE BACK ON THE PEDESTAL

The staging of this match is a sign that would put Singapore back on the pedestal to organise matches of such stature in the near future after the Covid pandemic saw the cancellation or postponement of several major tournaments that were scheduled around the globe during the last two years.

MIXED REACTIONS

However, the organisers also braced some mixed reactions from fans over the cost of the tickets.

Contrasting opinions on the admission charges paid by the fans were sought before the match.

"Personally, I felt the tickets were selling too expensive," said Lim MH, one of those Reds fans who opted to stay away.

"Being a pre-season friendly, I think (Jürgen) Klopp (Liverpool FC manager) is likely to try out some reserve players, so I decided to give it a miss to avoid any disappointment.

"After all, stars like (Mohamed) Salah are the ones fans really want to see in live action." opined the engineer who once traveled to Malaysia to watch Liverpool in 2015.

Mo Salah made his appearance in style

The big turnout of this match is a positive sign in a trying time like this

Nonetheless, the staggering ticket prices did not deter other Anfield faithful from turning up at Kallang.

Accompanied by his wife to the match was Eddy Irwan who is a Liverpool fan for more than 20 years.

He said: "It is not every day you get to see your favourite team in action in Singapore, so I did not think twice and immediately bought my tickets when I know they are coming.

"To me, it does not matter who is playing or how long he would be featured in the match, what matters to me most is - it is Liverpool, my favourite team, is in action right in front of me." added Eddy who works in the transport industry.

KLOPP ACKNOWLEDGED THE IMPORTANCE OF TRIP

While he believes a two-week training stint in Austria would be better from a training point of view, Klopp acknowledged the importance of making trips like this to this part of the world.

Speaking in the pre-match media conference prior to the matchday, the German tactician said: "The best thing about it (this trip) as we come closer to our fan base. For our fan base in Asia especially, we know how big it is and we know how important it is to come and we love doing it.

"From a training point of view, 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."

Klopp acknowledged the importance of this trip

Some Liverpool fans at the open training session

Showing the same appreciation for the support from their Singapore fans was Andy Robertson who was with his gaffer in the mentioned media meetup.

"The fans are so welcoming of you and you’re their heroes, and they’re waiting outside the hotel, coming to the stadium, everywhere you go they just want a glimpse of you. We appreciate that massively and the fans all around the world are so important to us, not just the ones in Anfield every single week." said the Scottish national team captain.

Comments

  1. I was at this match yesterday, and also attended most of the AFF Suzuki matches there when we made a valiant effort, only to fall short in style at the Semis.

    If I may humbly provide my two cents: I’ve never seen such a turnout at the new national stadium before, and i think it’s encouraging to see SG football fans turning up in such big numbers despite the prices being quite pricey. In my opinion, that means that there is still hope for a big turnout for National Team matches in future.

    In my opinion, the sentiment around Singapore football, the NT in particular, needs a rejuvenation. Liverpool aren’t just any run of the mill EPL club that visits Singapore for a Pre Season friendly, they have been one of the more successful clubs in recent times and definitely the most successful club in England by major trophies. Hence I believe that translates to such a strong and passionate fanbase.

    Our NT? I remember the modern hype around Singapore football peaked during the LionsXII era - we got to see a “national team” play strong MSL teams every week and triumph. I started to follow LionsXII every week and watched most games, and by association the NT games as well. We also won the Suzuki cup around those times.

    Contrast that to today, where we were considered “lucky” to make it to a semi-finals, no doubt due to the pride of playing at home. our NT performances otherwise over the past few years have felt lacklustre and uninspiring. Something needs to change - Once the Lions start to play with renewed vigour and determination, tactics evolve beyond just sitting back and playing long balls, I believe SG fans will be excited to throw our support behind the boys as well.

    Just my two cents! Feel free to disagree and share your thoughts as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Too bad such turnouts likely will not be happening at the lions match

    ReplyDelete
  3. Honestly it's really disheartening to see this. With all due respect to Liverpool fans and their passion but how painful it is to see that a pre season friendly gets an extravagant turn out and our very own National Team gets empty seats during important matches like the AFF Suzuki Cup, causeway derby, asian cup qualifiers and world cup qualifiers. It's so painful to the fact that some times matches have to be played at JBS to get a sell out capacity. I think it's time for us Singaporeans to reflect and give a passionate support to our NT. With support it will only help our NT grow. Let's just look at Harimau Malaya and the Garudas our neighbours. Their stadium are of 90,000+ capacity but they manage to fill 60% or more even in just friendlies with fierce rivals. I hope this will change in time to come for Singapore

    ReplyDelete

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