In spite of years of rivalry and competition, Liverpool Red John Arne Riise and Manchester Red Ronny Johnsen were nothing short of smiles and banter at the Battle of the Reds pre-match press conference with Singapore Red Aleksandar Duric earlier this afternoon.
Organised by Masters Football Asia, the Battle of the Reds will see Liverpool, Manchester and Singapore Reds take on each other in three 40-minute round-robin matches at the National Stadium on 16 November.
The lineups, which include Paul Walsh, Luis Garcia, Vladimir Smicer from Liverpool, Lee Martin, Jesper Olsen, Danny Webber from Manchester, and Aide Iskandar, Lionel Lewis and Alam Shah amongst others will have more names added, and announced, closer to date.
The teams previously matched up during the Masters Football Asia series in 2015 when Liverpool previously clinched the win against Manchester United with a final score of 2-0, with goals by Luis Garcia and Hamann.
“We respect each other. Ronny and I have been travelling together for a week, and I’m happy that I’m going home so I’ll won’t have to see him for a while! But yes, we have fun together, we meet up, we have dinners and stuff, as soon as we go into the dressing room, there’s no ‘friends’ anymore. It’s all about winning and my target is to take Ronny, you know. Yes, that’s what I’m aiming for,” said former Liverpool left-back John Arne Riise.
“As John said, it’s going to be competitive every time. Of course, with Liverpool, you know, everything goes out of the window other than winning the game. We need to keep that flag flying high. It’s one of those moments to play Liverpool. It’s always going to be the same so, I’m looking forward to it,” said Ronny Johnsen in response.
“It’s a really good line-up this year and always great to have these big teams in Singapore. Back in 2017, we had a good fight, so I’m definitely looking forward to the games. So many of the Singapore Reds players are supporters of the two teams coming in November so the dressing room will definitely be interesting, but of course when we come out, we will want to play well and enjoy the game,” added Aleksandar Duric.
Masters Football Asia Director, Ian Holahan, “We would like to thank the sponsors for making this possible, but it is definitely the fans too that keep driving us forward. The most important thing is to give back to the community, to give fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With that in mind, this year, all ticket-holders will stand a chance to win a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ experience, where they will get to interact with the teams while they are here.”
Open to six lucky ticket holders, winners will live like a footballer on the Battle of the Reds match day. Two winners will each shadow either the Liverpool, Manchester or Singapore Reds, and join the teams for lunch, travel to the stadium in the team bus, take a sneak peek at the changing room and even sit on the bench with the teams during the match.
More details will be available on Masters Football Asia’s social media pages in the coming weeks.
Tickets to the Battle of the Reds 2019 start from $20 and are available at www.sportshub.com.sg. Family packages (two adults & two children below the age of 12) are also available at $120 and VIP Packages at $250. For more information, please visit www.mastersfootball.asia.
2019 Battle of the Reds
Date: 16 November 2019, Saturday
Time: Kick-off at 7 pm, gates open at 5.30 pm
Venue: National Stadium, 1 Stadium Drive, Singapore 397629
Team lists (as of 23 September 2019) Liverpool Masters
John Arne Riise, Emile Heskey, Didi Hamann, Luis Garcia, Vladimir Smicer, David Thompson, Mark Wright, John Durnin, Phill Babb, Jason McAteer, Paul Walsh, Fabio Aurelio, Don Hutchinson
Manchester United Masters
Paul Rachukah, Wes Brown, Keith Gillespie, Ben Thornley, Teddy Sheringham, Clayton Blackmore, Ronny Johnsen, Eric Djemba Djemba, Russel Beadsmore, Lee Martin, Jesper Olsen, Danny Webber, Erik Nevland
Fandi Ahmad, Malek Awab, Syed Faeuk, Aleksadar Duric, Aide Iskandar, Zulkarnean Zainal, Gusta Guzariaha, Azhar Baksin, Rezal, Indra Shadan Daud, Noor Ali, Steven Tan, Dalis Supaid, Alam Shah, Lionel Lewis, Rezal Hassan, E. Mani Mohan, Fahmie Abdullah