Liverpool will crank up their pre-season preparations another notch on Sunday afternoon with a trip to League Two side Bradford City, in a match which will raise money towards the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation.
The foundation was set up by former Liverpool and Bradford defender Stephen Darby following his own MND (Motor Neuron Disease) diagnosis last year. Darby, the husband of England women captain Steph Houghton, came through the youth setup at Liverpool and made more than 200 appearances for Bradford in a five-year spell.
With both clubs less than a month away from the start of their respective seasons, it will be another chance to work up fitness and integrate squad players into the first-team fold in front of an expected sell-out crowd at Valley Parade.
|Game||Bradford City vs Liverpool|
|Date||Sunday, July 14|
|Time||3pm BST / 10am ET|
|Stream (US)||B/R Live|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via Bleacher Report Live.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Bleacher Report Live|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on LFCTV and can be streamed via LFCTV GO.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Gary Bowyer's Bradford have had a productive pre-season campaign so far, with friendly wins over Guiseley and Brighouse Town and ten new signings confirmed since the end of the 2018-19 season - when they finished bottom of League One.
The Brighouse win featured two different elevens for each half and no fewer than 14 trialists, but Bradford are likely to return to a more familiar line-up in front of a capacity crowd against the European champions.
Liverpool will be looking to give game time to as many players as possible having seen 23 different players take to the field at Tranmere.
There is one boost with the news that defender Dejan Lovren comes back into the squad after returning to Melwood for training on Tuesday. Andy Robertson is unlikely to feature after undergoing a minor procedure on an infected bite on his hand.
There will be another chance for teenager Rhian Brewster to impress after he thrust himself into the first-team picture with two goals at Prenton Park.
Betting & Match Odds
Liverpool are 1/6 favourites to win this match with bet365. Bradford can be backed at 11/1, while a draw is available at 6/1.
Stephen Darby was an integral part of one of Bradford's greatest ever teams, the side which reached the 2013 League Cup final before being promoted from League Two in the same season while he also played in the famous FA Cup win at Chelsea two years later.
Still only 30, he was forced to retire from the game last year after receiving the crushing news of his MND diagnosis. He set up the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation with close friend Chris Rimmer, and was boosted earlier this month by the announcement of an official partnership between the Foundation and Bradford City.
A sell-out crowd is expected for this game, an achievement that Bantams manager Gary Bowyer says speaks volumes about the affection in which Darby is held.
“We are really looking forward to Sunday," he told the club's website. It is for an unbelievable cause and we are delighted to be hosting Liverpool. The players are understandably excited about the occasion - in front of a 24,000-plus crowd.
“The fact this fixture sold out in a matter of weeks tells you a great deal. It is an appreciation and a measure of the impact Stephen had on the Bradford City fanbase.
“He displayed the qualities in a Bradford shirt that we are looking to bring in now. I feel we have done. The fact the supporters are turning out in their droves doesn’t surprise me at all.”
Liverpool showed their admiration for Darby on Twitter, with a video showing the squad chanting his name after James Milner was nominated for the #StephenDarbyBaby challenge. They also hoped to raise some awareness for the #DistanceForDarbs day, where participants will walk the 65km from Valley Parade to Anfield to raise awareness for the foundation.
After being nominated for the #StephenDarbyBaby challenge, @JamesMilner called in some backing singers, in support of @Distance_Darbs - @darbyrimmermnd. 🎤— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 13, 2019
Our nomination is everyone attending our game vs @officialbantams tomorrow. Over to you... 🔴 #DistanceForDarbs pic.twitter.com/xCNysyWLRh
Jurgen Klopp told Liverpool's website: “It was a rare moment when awareness on social media can make sense, I would say! That’s why we did it and it was good fun.
“Football is only a game, but sometimes we can do some especially good things – and in this case, for Stephen Darby, which is very, very important. We know that and hopefully it will help.”