Pre-season is about getting the players fit and up to speed for the upcoming season. As far as statements go, that seems quite entirely obvious. In the modern game, though, they’re also about monetization of a global fanbase, of satisfying sponsors with global interests, and growing the club’s brand.
After a few years without significant touring, though, Liverpool kept theirs short this year, playing just two games in South-East Asia. Liverpool chief executive officer Billy Hogan says it was a conscious choice as the club look to put themselves in the best position to compete for titles in 2022-23.
“The challenge is always finding the right balance,” Hogan told The Athletic. “I think we’ve got into a pretty good place with that during Jurgen’s time at the club. Each year brings its own specifics. Singapore is a really important market, so that was kind of an anchor in terms of where we were looking.
“Everybody, including Jurgen, feels very strongly that bringing the club out to global markets is the right thing to do. After not being able to get out on tour in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the chance to bring the club out to these markets is incredibly important.”
Interestingly, presumed main title rivals Manchester City also kept their tour brief this summer with a two-game swing through the United States followed up with just one game in Spain, while Chelsea and Arsenal both played three times in America along with having a friendly or two closer to home.
Not every club has gone the short tour route in an attempt to balance monetization with preparation, though, with Manchester United facing Liverpool in Bangkok before travelling to Australia—where they’re still on tour this week. The Red Devils will also stop in Norway before returning to England.
“We know the benefits of a training camp both from a training perspective and also from a team-bonding and camaraderie perspective,” Hogan added of Liverpool’s choice to keep their tour brief. “It feels like a really nice balance this year—similar to what we did in 2018 and 2019.”