BANGKOK - Five-time European Cup winners Liverpool arrived in Bangkok last night on the final leg of their Asian tour, fresh from back-to-back wins in Australia and Indonesia.
The Reds stepped off a chartered plane at Don Mueang Airport to a welcome led by Liverpool fan and former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa. They were last in Thailand for a friendly in 2009.
Led by Irish manager Brendan Rodgers, the 18-time league title winners will take part in several activities in Bangkok, culminating in a match against the Thai national team at Rajamangala National Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 5.40).
This morning, part of the squad will lead a football skills clinic at Suphanburi Municipality Stadium, while Rodgers along with team skipper and Thai favourite Steven Gerrard will pay their respects to Their Majesties with a visit to Siriraj Hospital in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Liverpool great Ian Rush, who scored a team-record 346 goals during his two spells at Anfield, will lead an activity for children at the Bangkok School for the Blind at 2.30pm.
Tomorrow, two current Reds players will take a 1.30 press conference at the team's Plaza Athenee Hotel before two more demonstrate footballing technique at a sponsor's "Honda Red Champion" activity at the same venue. At 3pm, two players will be at a meet & greet session at Bangkok School for the Blind. The team will join up for a public training session at Rajamangala Stadium at 5pm.
Sunday's friendly with Thailand will be broadcast live on Channel 3. The original 6pm kick-off time has been altered slightly so as not to clash with the broadcast of a special message from the Royal Family to mark the 61st birthday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
At press time, tickets for Sunday's match were still available - see www.liverpoolfc.com/tickets.
Liverpool will be hoping to improve on last season's seventh-place finish in the Premier League when the new season kicks off on August 17. The Reds' pre-season preparation has gone well, with 2-0 wins against an Indonesia XI and Melbourne Victory. They will also be aiming to improve on their last showing in Thailand - a 1-1 draw against the local team in 2009.
Yaya backs Pellegrini
Influential midfielder Yaya Toure yesterday backed new manager Manuel Pellegrini to bring silverware to Manchester City, describing him as "unbelievable".
"We are working and trying to understand and learn from the new manager," he said.