Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Give everything: coach

Liverpool fans at Federation Square to meet the players.

Liverpool fans at Federation Square to meet the players. Photo: Justin McManus

Melbourne Victory players have been told to play with flair against English Premier League giant Liverpool on Wednesday night, irrespective of the possibility that could open them up to a heavy loss.

Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said he had no interest in grinding out an honourable loss in the exhibition match at the MCG. Instead, he said he is more focused on his undermanned team achieving some ''memorable moments''.

''We want entertainment, we want goals,'' Postecoglou said on Tuesday after Victory's final pre-match training session.

Legend: Former Liverpool player Craig Johnston meets players during a Melbourne Victory training session.

Legend: Former Liverpool player Craig Johnston meets players during a Melbourne Victory training session. Photo: Getty Images

''You don't want to die wondering … I'm not that kind of coach, I've never been that kind of person. I'd rather know there's a gap there than never find out. We can go out there tomorrow and play defensively … but that doesn't become meaningful. I'd rather go out there and give it everything we've got.


''If we can play our style of football against world-class opponents, even if it is in moments, I reckon that's a good sign for us.''

Victory is weakened by the absence of Adama Traore due to injury and Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan due to international duty. Captain Adrian Leijer and defensive stalwart Leigh Broxham are conspicuous as remaining players with considerable experience.

The squad's training session finished with an address from Craig Johnston, the retired Australian who had a fine career for Liverpool, which included scoring in its 1986 FA Cup final win.

''We've got some young players who are going to play the game of their lives tomorrow night, but I wanted them to hear how hard Craig had to work to get to that level and play for Liverpool,'' Postecoglou said.

Johnston told the players the biggest gap between them and Liverpool would not be in style but in speed and passing accuracy, and urged them to strive to overcome that deficiency. ''It's a huge game … there's a lot of youngsters there. Basically we said it's going to be the biggest game of their lives and they'll remember it for as long as they live,'' said Johnston, still a passionate Liverpool supporter. ''This is their cup final.''

The match will cap a memorable week for Postecoglou, given that he coached the A-League All-Stars against Manchester United on Saturday night and is also a passionate Liverpool supporter.

While the Victory squad will undoubtedly be inferior, on paper at least, to the A-League team thumped 5-1 by Manchester United, the coach said he was hopeful Victory would benefit from its players having trained and played together for much longer than the week for the A-League All-Stars team.

''A lot of the players last week hadn't really got into their pre-season at all. We've been going for a good four weeks so our boys are in good condition,'' he said.

''There have been plenty of fantastic Australian footballers who had greater careers and never had the opportunity to play at the MCG against a world-class opponent in front of 90,000 people. We've just got to make sure we get the most out of the night, and the players really enjoy it and grow from it.''

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