In spite of years of rivalry and competition, Liverpool Red John Arne Riise and Manchester Red Ronny Johnsen were nothing short of smiles and banter at the Battle of the Reds pre-match press conference with Singapore Red Aleksandar Duric earlier this afternoon. Organised by Masters Football Asia, the Battle of the Reds will see Liverpool, Manchester and Singapore Reds take on each other in three 40-minute round-robin matches at the National Stadium on 16th November.
Said former Liverpool left-wing John Arne Riise: “We respect each other. Ronny and I have been travelling together for a week, and I’m happy that I’m going home so I’ll won’t have to see him for a while! But yes, we have fun together, we meet up, we have dinners and stuff, as soon as we go into the dressing room, there’s no ‘friends’ anymore. It’s all about winning and my target is to take Ronny, you know. Yes, that’s what I’m aiming for.”
“As John said, it’s going to be competitive every time. Of course, with Liverpool, you know, everything goes out of the window other than winning the game. We need to keep that flag flying high. It’s one of those moments to play Liverpool. It’s always going to be the same so, I’m looking forward to it,” said Ronny Johnsen in response.
More names have also been added to the line-up for all three teams. Those of which include Paul Walsh, Luis Garcia, Vladimir Smicer from Liverpool, Lee Martin, Jesper Olsen, Danny Webber from Manchester, and Aide Iskandar, Lionel Lewis and Alam Shah amongst others. More names will be announced closer to date. The teams previously matched up during the Masters Football Asia series in 2015 when Liverpool previously clinched the win against Manchester United with a final score of 2-0, with goals by Luis Garcia and Hamann.
“It’s a really good line-up this year and always great to have these big teams in Singapore. Back in 2017, we had a good fight, so I’m definitely looking forward to the games. So many of the Singapore Reds players are supporters of the two teams coming in November so the dressing room will definitely be interesting, but of course when we come out, we will want to play well and enjoy the game,” added Aleksandar Duric.
Masters Football Asia Director, Ian Holahan states: “We would like to thank the sponsors for making this possible, but it is definitely the fans too that keep driving us forward. The most important thing is to give back to the community, to give fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With that in mind, this year, all ticket-holders will stand a chance to win a ‘day-in-the-life-of’ experience, where they will get to interact with the teams while they are here.”
Open to six lucky ticket holders, winners will live like a footballer on the Battle of the Reds match day. Two winners will each shadow either the Liverpool, Manchester or Singapore Reds, and join the teams for lunch, travel to the stadium in the team bus, take a sneak peek at the changing room and even sit on the bench with the teams during the match. More details will be available on Masters Football Asia’s social media pages in the coming weeks.
The Battle of the Reds 2019 takes place on 16th November, with a 7pm kick-off at the Singapore Sports Hub. Tickets available from SportshubTix For more information, visit their website at www.battleofthereds.com