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Liverpool, Man Utd to clash in Bangkok

BANGKOK (AFP) – Liverpool and Manchester United will meet in a high-profile friendly in Bangkok in July, the clubs said yesterday, as Premier League teams resume lucrative pre-season tours which stopped when Covid hit.

After the July 12 clash in the Thai capital, Cristiano Ronaldo and his United team-mates will fly to Australia for two more friendlies, including a clash with Crystal Palace, at the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Before the pandemic shut down overseas tours, usually to Asia and the United States, they were a regular money-spinner for Premier League sides – even if managers don’t like the travel, hot weather and sometimes questionable pitches.

“It will be the same players as you see now with a few additions if transfer deals happen,” said legendary United striker Andy Cole, predicting the two sides’ historic rivalry would continue in Bangkok.

“I’m not sure it will be played like a pre-season friendly,” he said.

The clash between United and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, currently nipping at the heels of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, at the Rajamangala National Stadium has been dubbed the “Red War” by Thai media and fans.

Both clubs have a strong following in Thailand, with Liverpool shirts and logos especially visible – the Anfield outfit’s official Thai language Facebook page has more than 38 million followers.

Former Liverpool defender Phil Babb said he expected Klopp to bring a full-strength squad.

But with tickets ranging from USD150 to USD750 many ordinary Thai fans have complained of being priced out of seeing their heroes play in the flesh.

Former football players Andy Cole and Phil Babb during a press conference in Bangkok. PHOTO: AFP