The summer of soccer in the Bay Area continues this weekend with the visit of two European powerhouse clubs to Levi's Stadium Saturday night. Liverpool FC of the EPL will take on AC Milan of Italy's Serie A as part of the 2016 International Champions Cup.
Both teams are still weeks away from the respective season openers, so the match is likely to feature a wide array of players, but the entertainment factor of having the two team who faced off against each other twice in the UEFA Champions League Final, in 2005 and 2007, might be too much for fans to pass up.
Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp told reporters ahead of the game that "we want to give as many players as possible match time and we want to be competitive in this game of course." The Reds are coming off a 1-0 loss to Chelsea earlier this week at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, but Klopp seems more concerned that the team continues to build momentum ahead of its EPL opener against Arsenal on August 14.
"The only thing we want to do is not to scare the players and make them afraid of our training," said Klopp. "It's more about really creating a base for the games we have to play and I think it makes absolute sense to create a physical base so that you can make it easier."
Liverpool finished in eighth place last season -- outside of the Champions and Europa League positions -- and Klopp has had to deal with a lot of consternation from the fanbase that the team may not be ready for the upcoming campaign. The German strongly disagrees with his distractors, and he feels he has the players he wants to make Liverpool great again.
"There is a special quality that we did not have last year," said Klopp. "Above all, you can see we have created a special atmosphere."
AC Milan arrive at Levi's Stadium after beating Bayern Munich in the game of the ICC thus far, a 3-3 decision that the Italian giants took 5-3 on penalty kicks. Milan fielded a top line-up in that match, featuring goal scorer M'baye Niang and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, and the Rossoneri head coach Vincenzo Montella is expected to do much the same against Liverpool.
"You can tell that the team wants to develop and work hard," said Montella following the win over Bayern. "This is a group that is getting ready to build something. Our objective is to produce pleasing football and that's contingent on keeping control over the game."
The ICC is in its fourth year, and the tournament is now run worldwide. The USA will play host to 10 teams this summer, including reigning EPL champions Leicester City and Champions League winners Real Madrid. Groups of teams will also play in Australia and China to round out the competition.
But at Levi's Stadium, much like it was for Arsenal at the recent MLS All-Star Game at Avaya Stadium, Liverpool will be the center of attention, and faithful Reds fans from around the Bay Area are expected to attend in droves. Tickets are still available for the match, with Levi's Stadium capable of crowds of over 68,000, and a strong walk-up attendance is anticipated.
How to Watch:
2016 International Champions Cup
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Saturday, July 30, 2016, kickoff at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time
Streaming: ESPN3, WatchESPN.com