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Jul 24, 2013

New Melbourne Victory captain looming

Melbourne Victory look almost certain to appoint a new captain for the next A-League season.

Incumbent Adrian Leijer was surprisingly not given the captain's armband for their landmark friendly against Liverpool at the MCG on Wednesday night.

Instead, midfielder Leigh Broxham was made skipper.

While the club is tight-lipped about exactly what is happening while it waits for several players to return from Socceroos duty, it is understood Leijer is set to relinquish the captaincy he has held for the past two seasons.

Socceroo Mark Milligan, away in Korea for the East Asian Cup, would be favourite to take over as permanent Victory captain should that happen.

Without the burden of captaincy, Leijer played one of his best games for the Victory in a heroic defensive effort as his side fell 2-0 to the English Premier League giants.

Leijer was among a host of outstanding performers as his central defensive combination with youngster Nick Ansell continues to strengthen.

Coach Ange Postecoglou made special mention of Leijer's contribution, as well as that of goalkeeper Nathan Coe, who made several vital saves.

"They all stood up tonight. Our intent was to see if we could play our football against a really good team, and I thought we got some really good moments out there," he said.

Winger Connor Pain also won plaudits for his effort in tormenting England international Glen Johnson, and is shaping as the Victory's best hope to fill the void left by Marco Rojas' departure to Germany.

Postecoglou now hopes his team can use the experience generated from Wednesday night's game as a springboard for a big A-League season.

And he also hopes the remarkable atmosphere generated by the 95,446 who attended the MCG and served up a stirring pre-match rendition of Liverpool's anthem You'll Never Walk Alone, will convince any A-League nay-sayers of the merits of the code.

"I don't think anyone who turned up, heard the song before the game and then watched two teams trying to play football - if you weren't in love with the game already, you're thinking about having an affair with it."

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