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Sports

Liverpool to host Dortmund in Notre Dame Stadium as first stop in US Tour

| Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In the first competitive soccer match ever played in Notre Dame Stadium, Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League will host Borussia Dortmund of Bundesliga on July 19 at 8 p.m in an international clash of titans. The friendly match will showcase two of the world’s top clubs, with the Reds currently sitting atop the EPL a game and two points above defending champion Manchester City, and Dortmund residing in second place in the German League, just one point behind defending champion Bayern Munich.

The match is also significant for Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, who previously held the same position at Dortmund. While in Bundesliga, Klopp led his club to a league title — something he hopes to do now with the Reds.

The match will be the first in a three-game American Tour for Liverpool this summer, after which point they will face La Liga’s Sevilla FC in Fenway Park and Primeira Liga’s Sporting CP in Yankee Stadium.

Although American tours are typically notorious for sporting young players while resting clubs’ most notorious talent, Liverpool’s Chief Commercial Officer, Billy Hogan, is optimistic about the odds that players like Mo Salah and Sadio Mané will appear for the Reds in the match against Dortmund, especially given that neither the World Cup nor the European Championships will take place in the coming summer.

Ann Curtis | The Observer

Liverpool Football Club and Borussia Dortmund will compete in the first competitive soccer match in the history of Notre Dame Stadium on July 19.

“We should be in a position where a lot of the first team is available,” Hogan said. “Everybody who’s healthy will absolutely be there.”

Because the matches will take place during the preseason, Hogan emphasized the importance of using them as preparation for the grueling schedule the club will face come August.

“Jürgen Klopp, our manager, takes the preseason very, very seriously, from a training perspective. But he also recognizes the responsibility of playing for a massive global club like Liverpool. And that’s to bring the team closer to the fans. So we will have everybody who’s available,” Hogan said. “Jürgen, understands the responsibility of playing for Liverpool and of being a part of that history and that tradition.”

With the tour, Liverpool will be returning to the United States for the second year in a row, a relatively uncommon but justified choice.

“Touring in the U.S. is a great experience because the venues are terrific,” Hogan said. “The training facilities are terrific. Relatively short flight times between locations. Touring in the U.S. has been and continues to be a great experience.”

Hogan also commented on the specific locations of this year’s series as holding unique significance.

“We would look at every summer tour as kind of its own unique opportunity,” Hogan said. “We started looking at [the U.S.] in this case again because of the opportunities that we had in front of us with Notre Dame and with Fenway Park and with Yankee stadium. [Returning] was something that we felt was the right decision to run as the tour this summer.”

The unique opportunities presented by the tour are special to the players as well.

“I generally genuinely can tell you that the players enjoy getting a chance to see different parts of the world. Obviously, they’re working hard because they’re training,” Hogan said. “If you’re training every day in the same place, all summer long in the preseason — the tour gives us a chance to kind of break up that monotony as well.”

But as special as the tour is for the players, it is perhaps even more special for the fans.

“The overall fan base is growing in the U.S. and I think these summer tour matches are a chance for our U.K. and our European fans and even fans from outside of just Europe and the U.K. — we’ve had fans literally from all over the world who follow us on tour — to have them come together with our U.S. fanbase is a really powerful and festive occasion.”

When taken together, the different aspects of the tour come together for a “positive net gain” for the club, allowing them to gain exposure beyond their legendary home stadium, Anfield.

“There’s the element of bringing our fan base together. There’s the opportunity to bring the first team out to our fans and to our supporters, many of whom will never get the chance to go to Anfield and to see them play at Anfield. And then the other part that’s really important is we do a number of community events while we’re in the various locations and try and spend time in the community and giving back while we’re there as well,” Hogan said.

In terms of selecting Notre Dame as a location, Hogan cited the athletics staff and the University’s tradition as key reasons why it was selected as a host cite.

“We reached out to the team at Notre Dame,” he said. “Jack [Swarbrick] and the Athletic Department at Notre Dame were absolutely phenomenal. Really, really strong group of people and have been a pleasure to work with. And it just seemed like a great fit.”

The historic match will likely be a competitive one.

“It should be terrific. Two great teams and should be a really festive atmosphere,” Hogan said.

Tickets for the match will go on sale to the general public Friday, April 26 at 11 a.m. EST. They will be available for purchase at liverpoolfc.com/tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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