A few weeks ago, Liverpool could have been facing Barcelona in next season’s Champions League. Now, having failed at the final hurdle in the Europa League, losing out to five-time winners Sevilla, they know that the closest they’ll get to European competition in 2016-17 is in the pre-season.
The Reds are set for a pair of big pre-season games against European giants in two months, with the first a friendly against AC Milan in California and the second a date against Barcelona at Wembley at the start of August. It’s no surprise it’s the game at Wembley that has people talking, including captain Jordan Henderson.
"You want to be playing against good teams in pre-season, to get you in the best shape and in the right mindset come the start of the season," said the 25-year-old midfielder. "It’s important that you have competitive games in pre-season; you don’t want it becoming a friendly match or a bit too easy. You’d rather it be difficult."
Pre-season or not, Barcelona will certainly be difficult. It will also be a marquee match up, pre-season or not and even if the lustre has come off of Liverpool a bit in recent years. Plus, there’s the part where arguably the world’s best player on current form plays for one of the clubs and used to play for the other to add interest.
"Obviously the Barcelona one will stand out," Henderson added. "I think everybody will be looking forward to that one. It’ll be good to be playing against Luis again. I’ve always spoken very highly of him—he’s one of the best players in the world. It’ll be good to be on the same pitch as him again."