SINGAPORE, 2 AUGUST 2023 – A showdown between two European powerhouses always promises fireworks and goals and the tantalising clash between Premier League giants Liverpool FC and reigning Bundesliga champions FC Bayern Munich delivered just that. In a seven-goal thriller that rocked the Singapore Sports Hub, FC Bayern Munich came from behind twice to defeat Liverpool FC 4-3 with a stoppage time winner to clinch the Singapore Trophy presented by Audi and Standard Chartered on Wednesday (2 Aug) at the National Stadium.
FC Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel was pleased with the spirit and discipline his side showed, which bodes well as his side gear up for their title defence from 19 Aug. The German hailed the result as a “huge step forward”, adding: “It was a good performance and result against one of the best teams in Europe. I’m very happy the players showed a performance like this to put an exclamation at the end of this tour. We’ll focus on the process to get better every single day and to become a team. This match is proof we are on the right track. Against Liverpool FC, we had to overcome tough moments. It was more difficult because we went down twice and it’s very physical as always against Liverpool FC. We never gave up our spirit and discipline. There’s still time for us to develop and grow, but this is a big step and proof that we’re on the right track, so we’ll keep going.”
Defender Alphonso Davies also showed his appreciation for the crowd, saying: “I just want to say thank you to the fans who came down. We appreciate your support over here in Singapore, and we’re looking forward to the season and we’ll keep going when we get back to Munich.”
While FC Bayern Munich emerged victorious, it was Liverpool FC who drew first blood after just two minutes following a smooth passage of play between Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo. Jota’s final pass split the FB Bayern Munich defence for Gakpo to fire the ball past goalkeeper Yann Sommer. The Reds doubled their lead in the 28th minute through a classic Virgil van Dijk header off Andy Robertson’s well-positioned corner and the many diehard Liverpool FC fans got to their feet celebrating again.
The Germans pulled one back just five minutes later after new signing Kim Min-jae whipped in a sumptuous pass to Serge Gnabry, who put it past Alisson to the delight of the away end. Gnabry then turned provider in the 42nd minute, squaring the ball for Leroy Sane who made no mistake finding the back of the net to keep things level at the break.
Liverpool FC led again through Luis Diaz in the 66th minute who dinked a pass from Mohamed Salah past Josip Stanisic before slamming the ball into the bottom left corner. Defender Stanisic then made amends in the 80th minute, making no mistake from close range after Liverpool FC goalkeeper Alisson pushed Mattijs de Ligt’s header from Arijon Ibrahimovic’s free-kick into his path.
When it appeared that penalties would decide the winner, Stanisic’s fellow defender Frans Krätzig stepped up, smashing a long pass from de Ligt into the roof of the net to seal the trophy for the Germans as the crowd went wild. Both teams also took the time to thank their fans after the final whistle as “You’ll Never Walk Alone” played for a second time tonight.
On the 20-year-old Krätzig, Tuchel said: “He’s a lovely guy, he’s very intelligent and smart on the pitch. He was very strong when we changed him to an offensive position, I didn’t know how well he could play. He did very well since day one on tour. Today, he finished a very spectacular attack and played a good match. I’m very happy, he’s a nice guy, he deserves it and now, we will try to improve him, to push him.”
Despite the narrow loss, Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp still took positives from the match and thanked Singapore fans for the support they showed the Reds for the last few days.
Reflecting on a competitive match that delivered both positives and areas for improvement, Klopp said: “The goals we conceded were due to a lack of concentration in that moment and were all very similar. The atmosphere was great, (the fans) created something really special and from the first second, we were super welcomed. I hate losing, it happens, but this is pre-season and it’s a strong opponent. We could’ve scored a fourth goal, but there are lots of good stuff, stuff to improve on. That’s how it is and we keep going. The most important information of all: nobody got hurt. The physical aspect of today’s game was super important. We scored really good goals in the first half and there were good moments. We saw encouraging positive performances and we can work with that.”
Newly appointed Liverpool FC captain Virgil van Dijk echoed Klopp’s sentiments and made the team’s goal next season clear. He said: “Overall, it was a good game for the neutral fans and a lot of goals so that was not boring for the fans. There were so many good things today as well. But obviously, we still have to improve as well. That’s what we’re going to work on next week. We’re going to fight to make it right. Last season was disappointing and we’re going to do everything in our power to make everyone proud again and let the club be where it belongs.”
The match was the perfect finale to the Singapore Festival of Football Driven by CDG Zig, which saw over 130,000 fans come together for three top-class matches at the National Stadium. Tottenham Hotspur beat 2021 Singapore Premier League champions Lion City Sailors 5-1 to win the Tiger Cup on 26 July. Liverpool FC then defeated Leicester City FC 4-0 to retain their Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy on 30 July.
Timothy Ho, Managing Director, TEG Asia, said: “It was heartening to see over 130,000 football fans united by their love for football filling the National Stadium. Over the past week, we have had two training sessions and three matches for this year’s Singapore Festival of Football Driven by CDG Zig. Each of these sessions were well-supported with fans from around the region – including countries like China, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – coming to watch their sporting heroes live. We’ve also had strong support from our various partners and sponsors. We are always looking to bring live sporting and entertainment events to Singapore and the electrifying atmosphere on and off the pitch has made this event a very special one.”
Credit: Singapore Festival of Football Driven by CDG Zig.