There are few more enticing prospects than taking on your boyhood club in front of 80,000 fans, which is why Melbourne Victory's Billy Celeski can't wait to play Liverpool
Melbourne Victory midfielder Billy Celeski says the team's pre-season program is now in full swing, with the glamour friendly against Liverpool just weeks away.
Victory played out a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Victorian Premier League side Bentleigh Greens on Tuesday, as Ange Postecoglou drills his team in readiness for the new A-League season, which begins in October.
It will be Premier League opposition of a very different kind going up against Victory on July 24, when a sold-out Melbourne Cricket Ground plays host to the visit of English powerhouse Liverpool.
And Celeski is confident the Victory players are making progress ahead of what will be - for some at least - the biggest game of their career to date.
"[The] boys are working really hard," he said.
"Training's at a really good intensity, really good tempo, so it's a matter of bringing that out in the games now.
With Australia in action at the EAFF East Asian Cup in South Korea later this month, some Victory players are due to miss the game against Liverpool, including key men Archie Thompson and Mark Milligan.
But Celeski is looking at the positives of the scheduling clash, which will afford several of the club's promising youngster a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lock horns with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.
"I'm a boyhood Liverpool fan so I'm over the moon about it," Celeski said.
"I think it's going to be a good opportunity for all of our boys. Obviously there's a lot of boys away so it's a great experience for our young guys."
It remains to be seen if Mitch Nichols, a new arrival from Brisbane Roar, will be wearing navy blue or the green and gold later this month, with the attacking midfielder called up to the national team's training squad by Socceroos coach Holger Osieck ahead of the East Asian Cup.
But whether the recent signing turns out for Victory against Liverpool or Australia in Seoul, Celeski has already seen enough to expect big things from the 24-year-old next season.
"Mitch is doing really well, [he] knows a few of the boys and [is] obviously a quality player, so a really good recruit for us," he said.
As for Victory's technical and physical preparations, Celeski was disappointed not to beat Bentleigh, but backed himself and his team-mates to get it right in time for the Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium on October 12.
"It's a matter of concentrating on ourselves and working on our shape, our structure, obviously our fitness," he said.
"It's a matter of improving and implementing what we do in training in a game.
"There's improvements in all the areas we can make. It's a little bit different for some of the boys still, but some of us have been here long enough to know the structure, so it's just a matter of us improving."