BOSTON — Beating AS Roma wasn’t the purpose of Liverpool FC’s week-long trip to Boston. Nor did the Reds come to America to win the International Champions Cup.
Liverpool manger Brendan Rodgers has one primary goal for his team’s 2014 U.S. Tour: defeating Southampton on Aug. 17 at Anfield.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Liverpool’s Boston visit and U.S. Tour. Amid all the player appearances, fan gatherings, sponsor events and the 1-0 loss to Roma, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really at stake — that is, until you talk to Rodgers.
Liverpool begins its 2014-15 Premier League campaign in three and a half weeks. Its participation in this season’s League Cup, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup, which run during the Premier League season, will begin a few weeks (in the case of the former two) and months (for the latter) later. The League Cup concludes in February, and the others end in Mid-May.
Liverpool now is in training camp ahead of the marathon season. The exhibition games are among the most important aspects of its preseason preparation, and there are double sessions of practice — at some world-class athletic facilities — on non-gamedays.
The Boston leg of the training camp has given Rodgers and his team what he wanted.
“It’s definitely not about the results now,” Rodgers said Wednesday night at his postgame press conference. “The most important result for me is the first game of the season.
“You have a choice. You can play friendlies where you can win every game and you might not find out anything. But we’ve got a tough set of fixtures over the course of the preseason. We’ve got a great tour right here. Then we go back, and we’ll play Borussia Dortmund within a few days. So we’re really pitching ourselves in at a real good level to get a good gauge.
“The most important objective (for the tour) is that we’re in real good physical condition for our first game of the season against Southampton and that technically and tactically we’ll have honed up all the principles and ideas that have made us so successful in these last couple of years. That will be the most important result for us.”
Legacy building is part of the reason why Liverpool has come to Boston and the U.S. The Reds are providing numerous memorable experiences to their adoring fans. Liverpool also is creating new supporters by the hour.
While fans are enjoying these beautiful experiences, witnessing Liverpool play one summer night at Friendly Fenway won’t necessarily cement that legacy. Fans will receive their real inheritance during those 40 weeks between mid-August and mid-May when Liverpool is playing for the most prestigious and recognized trophies English and European soccer have to offer.
The Reds might win one or more of them in 2014-15, and their fans — be they based locally, nationally, in England, Ireland, Great Britain or further afield — will celebrate the achievement with equal pride and vigor. The same can be said about AS Roma.
Photo via LiverpoolFC.com