BANGKOK: Liverpool insist they are not just in Asia to cash in on the lucrative commercial opportunities the region offers, but to give their fanatical fans a chance to see them in the flesh.
The Reds arrived here on Monday, minus Steven Gerrard who is embroiled in a court case back home, to play Thailand today before jetting to Singapore for the second-leg of their Southeast Asian visit.
Clubs in the past, notably Real Madrid, have been criticised for planning worldwide tours purely for the financial reward.
But Liverpool commercial director Ian Ayre insists his team want to leave behind a legacy.
“We have a duty to contribute to these football markets and to our supporters over here,” he said on the club website.
“We have in place a strong legacy programme encompassing many different initiatives and which can be broken down into different areas.
“For example, we have a knowledge transfer programme at which Rafa will meet coaches from Thailand and Singapore, I will be meeting representatives from the local businesses and the medical team will also be having sessions.
“We will be running a kids programme with open training sessions to try and show people what we do and how we do it.
“The important thing is that when our plane lands back in Liverpool there will still be things going on in our name over here which we can continue to support.”
Like Manchester United, Liverpool have a huge fan base in a region which provides lucrative television revenues from screening live English Premier League matches. — AFP