Match Preview: Liverpool v. Olympiakos, 08.03.13

Michael Dodge

Steven Gerrard gets his Anfield testimonial tomorrow when Liverpool host Olympiakos for the first time since the man of the hour thumped home one of the most famous goals in European competition in the club's history.

Tomorrow is all about celebrating Steven Gerrard, and there's not really any other way around it. As we'll discuss later in the day, Liverpool's captain is a man who's become a club legend since making his debut in 1998, one fully deserving of an occasion focused on what he's done in a storied career. It was always going to happen at some point, but ahead of such a pivotal season for both him and the club, it seems fitting that it takes place now, just two weeks before the league campaign gets going.

The timing of the fixture means that Brendan Rodgers might choose to use some part of it for preparation despite a largely celebratory atmosphere; Liverpool travel to Oslo to face Valerenga midweek before meeting Celtic in Dublin next Saturday, which leaves them with opportunities to do some last-minute tweaking ahead of Stoke's visit on August 17th. But Liverpool will have had nearly a week off to rest and recover since they wrapped up their preseason tour in Bangkok, and it's likely that Rodgers will want to continue to bring along the squad in some way, even if only for a brief time.

Were this a match being taken entirely seriously, Olympiakos would likely provide the sternest test in Liverpool's preseason, having won the Greek Super League with ease last season and adding a handful of new faces to their roster over the course of the summer. They've spent most of their preseason in Germany, where they sandwiched a 4-1 loss to Hoffenheim with two draws against Stuttgart and Sandhausen.

Among those arriving are Javier Saviola from Malaga and Joel Campbell on loan from Arsenal, along with recognizable names in Vladimir Weiss and Roberto Jimenez. The Greek Super League kicks off the same weekend as the Premier League and they'll have Champions League football to look forward to when the draw is announced, so Míchel will likely be looking to get his squad into shape as well, as they've only got two friendlies after tomorrow's to get themselves up to speed.

For Liverpool:

What we know about tomorrow is that Steven Gerrard will start, score, and then be subbed off around the 75 minute mark so he can get the ovation he deserves. That's just common sense. We also know that the squad doesn't appear to have any major fitness concerns, and that all completed the preseason tour in mildly good shape. The coolest and best squad news was released earlier today, when Rodgers added a couple of key names to his roster:

Fowler is standard fare at this point, and hopefully Jamie Carragher can repeat his goalscoring heroics from his own testimonial a few seasons ago. The club haven't released the names of those that'll otherwise be involved, but I'd guess Michael Owen will be taking some leave time from shilling shinguard insurance, and he will be joined by a number of other club and international teammates from Gerrard's career.

There will be time for some of the regular squad as well, of course, but it's uncertain as to who will get any sort of significant minutes. Luis Suarez and whatever's going on with him probably threatens to overshadow the occasion, but aside from him I don't know that there's anything particularly notable about tomorrow's Liverpool squad. They'll exist to support their captain and celebrate his career to this point, and that's just about the way it should be.

Kickoff is set for 12:45PM BST/7:45AM EST, with LFCTV once again broadcasting the match live both on TV and online only. I haven't been able to find any listings for other channels, with Fox Soccer and BeIn showing advertisements and none of the typical UK channels showing that it'll be on. **BeIN is apparently airing it online and later in the day on replay. Thanks for the info from the comments, folks.** We'll have anything available in the matchday thread, so please feel free to hang out while we just sort of try to live in this moment forever:

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