Premier League heavyweights Chelsea and Liverpool will face off at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on Wednesday night as the International Champions Cup arrives in Southern California.
The ICC is in its third year now, having been instated as a successor to the World Football Challenge. The ICC leans more heavily on juggernaut-sized European clubs than the WFC did and American fans will be treated to a look at two of the biggest names in Premier League football in the midst of their preseason preparation.
Chelsea have a new manager in Antonio Conte and have been active in the transfer market, having signed N’Golo Kante’ from Leicester City and Michy Batshuayi from Marseille. Batshuayi has been included in the travelling squad along with the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, John Terry, and Willian.
American fans will also be getting their first look at Conte, the man who has been charged with returning the Blues to the summit of English football after last season’s disastrous campaign in which the Stamford Bridge outfit finished midtable.
Liverpool meanwhile, are entering into their first full season with manager Jurgen Klopp in charge. The club has been very active on the market; signing Joel Matip from Schalke, Loris Karius from Mainz, Sado Mane from Southampton, and Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle, among others. There has also been a significant clear-out at Anfield with 13 players including Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Jordan Ibe, either released or sold to other clubs.
The new signings have all been included Liverpool’s squad for the ICC, which also includes the likes of Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Christian Benteke and Jordan Henderson.
The Reds have looked okay in preseason so far, beating Huddersfield Town 2-0 in their final warm-up game before the ICC, where in addition to Chelsea, they will face AC Milan in Santa Clara and FC Barcelona in London.
After a surprise 2-0 loss to Rapid Vienna in their first game with Conte in charge, Chelsea bounced back to beat second division Austrian side Wolfsberger AC 3-0. Chelsea’s other ICC matches include a meeting with Real Madrid in Ann Arbor and a clash with AC Milan in Minneapolis.
With both clubs still very much in preseason mode, viewers expecting the intensity of a full-on Premier League clash may be disappointed. But the ICC is still the best venue for stateside fans looking to catch an up-close look at their European soccer heroes in the flesh.
If you can’t make it to the Rose Bowl you can still catch Chelsea vs. Liverpool this Wednesday, July 27, at 11:35 p.m. EST on ESPN.