Anfield magic recreated at Jalan Besar

 Liverpool fans are in for a treat this Saturday as the Anfield stars from yesteryears are set to grace the Jalan Besar turf alongside former Singapore internationals at The Castlewood Group Liverpool Masters.

From the likes of 1980s legend Ian Rush, who will be the player-manager for the Liverpool Masters side, to 2005 Champions League hero Jerzy Dudek, there will be no shortage of star quality on display.

1990s fan favourite Robbie Fowler, who is still revered as ‘God’ by the Liverpool faithful for his goalscoring exploits, is enthused at the prospect of playing in front of a capacity crowd at Jalan Besar Stadium this weekend.

“With Liverpool’s support and the Singapore fans, we always want to come back,” said the 39-year-old.

“We travelled around the world and everywhere we go, we get so much support, passion and drive from the fans, so we are really thankful for them.”

Emile Heskey speaks to FFT. Photo: Weixiang Lim

Masters debutant Emile Heskey, who was an integral part of the 2001 Reds’ cup-treble winning squad that season, is looking forward to a reunion with several of his former teammates in Singapore.

Having last visited the republic as part of the club’s Asian tour in 2001, the 36-year-old is keen to take in the sights of the country this time.

“Singapore is a lovely region in Asia and I am happy to be back and look to see more of the country,” he said.

“It’s also wonderful to catch up with some of the Liverpool lads I have not seen for the past six, seven years.

“I have often seen Robbie around in Liverpool, but the likes of Paddy Berger, (Vladimir) Smicer and Dudek, they were unbelievable mainstays [in the Liverpool squad] that I played in.”

Unlike previous Singapore editions where the Masters adopted a six-a-side format, this year sees the Liverpool Masters match played in a full 11-a-side version, with two halves of 40 minutes and rolling substitutions.

Aleksandar Duric with brother Milan, flown specially in for the match. Photo: Weixiang Lim

With more than 90 per cent of the match tickets sold, the fixture will also serve as Aleksandar Duric’s testimonial, as the 44-year-old bows out from professional football after more than two decades of sterling service to clubs in Hungary, Australia and Singapore.

He will be lacing up his boots for the Singapore Ex-Internationals, the majority of whom were from the triumphant Class of 1994 that brought home the Malaysia Cup.

The towering ex-national striker is anticipating a good encounter against the former Anfield heroes.

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday’s match and playing with the legends on both sides,” said Duric.

“Two weeks ago I played my last professional match and it was very emotional, so to know that I’ll be playing on the same pitch again will definitely evoke some feelings.”