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Jul 22, 2013

Liverpool clash tests Victory depth

For Melbourne Victory, their dream clash with English Premier League giants Liverpool is about sending the kids to school.

The Victory will dispatch one of their youngest ever sides to battle at the MCG on Wednesday night - shorn of several of last season's star players.

But coach Ange Postecoglou hopes pitting his side against the likes of internationals Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez will leave a lasting imprint - both on his players and the growth of the A-League club.

Archie Thompson, Mark Milligan and new signing Mitch Nichols are away on Socceroos duty, while Adama Traore and Gui Finkler are recovering from long-term injuries.

Last season's starters Marco Rojas and Marcos Flores have departed, with no new marquee player or major signings secured.

Instead, youngsters Postecoglou is earmarking to have breakout seasons - like Young Socceroo Scott Galloway, Jason Geria, Connor Pain and Nick Ansell - will take centre stage and have their quality tested like never before.

"We'll have probably seven players under the age of 21 out there and what a fantastic opportunity for them," Postecoglou said.

"There have been plenty of fantastic footballers in Australia who've had fantastic careers but never got the chance to play at the MCG against a world-class opponent in front of 90,000.

"We've got to make sure we get the most out of the night and the players really grow from it. I'm sure we'll give a good account of ourselves."

Skipper Adrian Leijer, Billy Celeski, Leigh Broxham and Socceroos goalkeeper Nathan Coe provide a base of experience.

After abortive attempts to sign a marquee player for next season, Postecoglou remains bullish his side will find the right sort of talent to spearhead their A-League charge.

Crosstown rivals Melbourne Heart have secured Harry Kewell.

The Victory have so far come up empty-handed, despite chasing Greek skipper Giorgos Karagounis and Italian striker Fabrizio Miccoli.

"Those two or three signings we make are going to be the most important we're going to make this year. I'm not going to get them wrong. I don't want to get them wrong," Postecoglou said,

"We'll take our time until the right person's there ... we're still looking for an attacking player and another defender.

"(But) as much as we're looking for a player, we're looking for the right person to bring here. Great football clubs are built on great people, not just great players."

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