Inside Liverpool's pre-season tour: Downpours, training disappointment and a packed diary

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HD Liverpool pre-season tour Hong Kong
The Reds' first day in Hong Kong was manic with a stream of appearances, while punishing rain ruined the original plans for their opening session


In the haze of the neon lights through a thick screen of torrential downpour, the streets of Kowloon are still stacked with animation at 1am.

There are people eating at food markets off Nathan Road sheltered under makeshift marquees, others getting their shopping done, and countless still on the clock. On a Monday night!

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Jordan Henderson Liverpool pre-season tour

Liverpool, too, were in go-go-go mode on day one of their pre-season tour of Hong Kong. Having arrived mid-morning following a 13-hour flight to check in at the grand Ritz-Carlton, there was little time to appreciate the panoramic views of Victoria Harbour from the world’s highest hotel. 

Then: bang, bang, bang. There was the New Balance third kit reveal, which featured Philippe Coutinho, Simon Mignolet, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Adam Lallana in ‘bold citrus.’ 

A partnership with Falken Tyres was announced with Daniel Sturridge, Mohamed Salah, Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne featuring alongside CEO Peter Moore and Billy Hogan, the club’s chief commercial officer and managing director.

At a Carlsberg event in Stormies bar, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ragnar Klavan did the moves to Night Fever - or tried to anyway.

The Duchess of Kent Children’s Hospital was visited by 14 of the 25-man travelling squad, who played a host of games with the delighted kids.

In the evening, Coutinho, Henderson and Firmino accompanied Jurgen Klopp to the Premier League’s welcome reception for the Asia Trophy, which was attended by representatives from Leicester, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion as well at the Grant Hyatt in Wan Chai. 

The Reds contingent didn’t stay long owing to training commitments, but frustratingly, the original plan for the team’s first session was wrecked by the punishing rain.

"The weather is not perfect for pre-season training," Klopp admitted. "Yes, we come from England and are used to rain, but yesterday was too much and so we couldn’t go out to train, we had to do what we could do. Today, hopefully, we can train because it’s important for rhythm and things like this.

John Barnes, Sami Hyypia and Gary McAllister remained to converse with the guests as did Liverpool’s chief executive.

HD Fowler Rush Liverpool pre-season

At the same time, fellow legends Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler were part of a Q&A with the official Hong Kong supporters' club at Grappas Cellar.

The excellent Vicky Jepson, meanwhile, assisted the Premier League with a community programme, continuing throughout the week, to educate PE teachers on how to properly facilitate football coaching for kids.

The Liverpool Ladies coach, who works with the development squad, the girls’ centre of excellence as well as for LFC Foundation, is helping to steer them away from a “militant approach” to understanding that children need freedom as well as responsibility to really develop.

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In-between the main commitments for the first team, there were also photo calls, interviews, commercial videos, and autograph-signing sessions.

Liverpool have done a lot to guard against jet lag, including staying on tour time - four hours behind the local clock - and keeping the squad awake with a ‘Last Man Standing’ challenge as well as a rock-paper-scissors battle in order for them to have a solid sleeping pattern.

Given the amount they had to power through during their opening day in Hong Kong, though, I doubt getting enough shut-eye was a problem for anyone.