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Jul 23, 2013

Postecoglou to live a lifelong dream

As a lifelong Liverpool supporter, Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou's bucket list will shorten on Wednesday night like he never would have believed.

Coaching against the English Premier League giants caps off a remarkable few days, after steering the A-League All-Stars against Manchester United.

The sellout clash at the MCG is clearly a labour of love for Postecoglou.

He fell under the spell of Liverpool's 1970s and 1980s teams, boasting the likes of Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish, then Ian Rush and Australian Craig Johnston.

Postecoglou met Johnston on Tuesday - one of Australia's finest football exports speaking to Victory players about what they might expect.

It was also a massive moment for Postecoglou, knowing how far he and Australian soccer have come.

"Growing up in this country, loving our code, I was a massive Liverpool supporter. But the English first division seemed a million miles away and for a young Aussie boy, you just didn't envisage how you could bring that world closer," he said.

"When Craig went to Liverpool, it just got the hairs on the back of the neck rising and realising that dream could come true.

"We've got some players who are going to play the game of their life.

"We're involved in a game that's truly global. This game throws up unbelievable situations, and it has for me in the last seven days.

"I really enjoyed Saturday night. Obviously we got beaten by a world-class opponent, but I really enjoy the fact we know what world-class football looks like, and the Australian public got to see what world-class football looks like."

Having put a stamp on the A-League few have managed, Postecoglou is enjoying the international challenge of coaching - this time against Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers.

The pair have similar philosophies on football - advocates of a possession-based, expansive game.

Rodgers worked his magic at Swansea City before Liverpool came calling, while Postecoglou took Brisbane Roar to two A-League titles before swapping them for a big challenge at the Victory.

"I've been a long distance admirer of the way his football team play for sure," Postecoglou said.

"I'm hoping to get a little moment with him, with the understanding that he's got a really busy time, and I wouldn't want to buy into that too much.

"I'm sure I'll get a moment with him, and whatever it is, I'll cherish the words."

Postecoglou is realistic enough to know the Victory's place in front of the 95,000 who will fill the MCG.

His understrength side are the Washington Generals to Liverpool's Harlem Globetrotters - Reds fans having travelled from interstate and overseas for the club's first visit to Australia.

Postecoglou will tell his team not to be overawed, and not to change their attack-based ways despite their storied opposition.

"We go out there and play our football ... we want to play football a certain way, and that's what we're going to try," he said.

"If we come up short, that's great. We'll know what the difference is, and we come back here the next day and work harder to bridge that gap."

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