While most of the A-League's clubs have already played local friendlies against lower-tiered opposition in recent weeks, several bigger club friendlies mark the start of the more noteworthy period of mid-offseason games. Three months have passed since the Grand Final leaving just two-and-a-half months before the 2013/14 A-League campaign begins in earnest.
The A-League's All-Stars opened the international friendly season with a 5-1 loss to Manchester United in front of 83,000 at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night. Next it's Melbourne Victory's turn to continue their tradition of big name offseason friendlies, this year welcoming the biggest of the lot with Liverpool playing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday. 90,000 are expected for the Reds' first visit to Australia.
Since 2007, the Victory have hosted the likes of Olympiacos, LA Galaxy, Celtic, Boca Juniors, Fulham, Juventus and on two occasions, Tianjin Teda, who are an affiliated club in the Chinese Super League. Though crowds of various sizes have enjoyed the offseason competition, none of them can compare with the upcoming Liverpool match.
Elsewhere, Sydney FC have landed in Japan and met up with Alessandro Del Piero, who arrived from Italy just ahead of his teammates. The Sky Blues will play Sagan Tosu of the J-League on Wednesday night at the 24,000-seat Best Amenity Stadium. Sydney are off to Italy in early August for three weeks of training and friendlies, including one against Del Piero's first club, Padova.
A day after the two high profile encounters, Perth Glory will play Mpumalanga (MP) Black Aces in Northeastern South Africa. The encounter against the ABSA Premiership club is the first of three top flight opponents over the next week, which includes Tuks FC and SuperSport United, who just defeated Manchester City in a friendly last week. This is Perth's third consecutive year spending time in South Africa, playing games and hosting clinics across the country.
Though a number of A-League players will be absent from the listed friendlies due to Socceroos duty at the East Asia Cup, all three clubs are expected to field strong line-ups as preseason ramps up in each camp.