If you’re a Liverpool fan, Saturday’s first friendly of the pre-season means a chance to see the Reds back in action ahead of the 2018-19 season. More than that, though, it’s going to be the first chance to watch Naby Keïta and Fabinho play for the club.
Which, as far as pre-season friendlies go, makes it kind of a big deal. But not that England have beaten Colombia on penalties on Tuesday, there’s going to be another—and, for many at least, bigger—game kicking off at 3PM GMT on Saturday afternoon.
England are into the quarter-finals of the World Cup, and they take on Sweden on Saturday, kicking off at the same time as Liverpool get going against Chester at the nearby Swansway Chester Stadium. And it looks like that game won’t be moved.
“When the fixture was first discussed there was a possible clash with an England quarter final in the World Cup,” said Chester chairman David Harrington-Wright. “We requested a kick off change then but that was the only time Liverpool could do.
“Premier League players are like racehorses and pre-season training is something that is planned to the very last detail, so a change in times would disrupt their plans. It has been mentioned since then but it is highly unlikely to be moved.”
England’s match against Sweden, one imagines, is similarly unlikely to be shifted. Which means for many there will be a choice to make—England in the World Cup quarter-finals or Keïta and Fabinho’s first action as Liverpool players.