The managerial trio represented their teams for this summer's pre-season Audi Cup tournament in a press conference held at Bayern Munich's Säbener Strasse facility. Carlo Ancelotti was the only manager physically present but was joined by holograms of Jürgen Klopp and Diego Simeone. Yes, the future is now.
This summer's four-team Audi Cup is hosted by Bayern Munich, but there is still one team to be confirmed. AC Milan have participated in all four tournaments to date and could complete the quartet once again depending on Europa League qualifiers. Still, the three participating teams—Atlético Madrid, Liverpool, and Bayern—make this year's edition one to watch.
Liverpool will face two top European teams and have a chance to be only the second visiting side after Barcelona to prevent Bayern from winning the trophy. Klopp and Simeone made a bit of technological history in football by becoming the first managers to appear as holograms at a press conference. As usual, Klopp was candid and charming about it all.
“It’s a bit strange to be honest,” Klopp remarked. “Generation wise, I used to watch the Starship Enterprise. I feel like I’ve been beamed to Munich.”
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Boca Juniors, São Paulo, Manchester United, Manchester City, Internacional, and Tottenham Hotspur have all appeared since 2009's inaugural offering. Often pre-season preparations involve travel, making money, giving fans across the world a chance to see their cherished club, and playing teams that aren't always the best quality. The Audi Cup, however, will give Liverpool enough of a challenge ahead of a more demanding campaign with European football.
“With this tournament coming 12 or 14 days before our season starts it has very high relevance,” Klopp pointed out. “By then we will have been back in training for more than one month.
“You can only find out where you are when you play against the best teams. Bayern and Atlético are certainly two of the best. It’s a great tournament in a great stadium. It’s always sold out and the atmosphere will be great.”
The biennial tournament takes place over two days at Bayern's Allianz Arena in the format of a regular knock-out competition. The two semi-finals will be held on Tuesday, August 1 to determine which teams will play in the final for a chance to lift the 2017 Audi Cup. The vanquished will try to restore some pride by fighting each other for third place on Wednesday, August 2 before Tuesday's winners lock horns in the final. The kick-off times at 4.45PM BST/11.45AM EST and 7.30PM BST/2.30PM EST should provide a familiar feel for your diaries. sh
It's a good tournament to be in, and for Liverpool, this will only help Klopp and his players be adequately prepared for 2017/18.