HK gets chance to see Liverpool's Suso shine
All eyes will be on Spanish wonderkid Suso when Liverpool make their debut in this week's HKFC Citibank International Soccer Sevens.
The 17-year-old midfielder, who turned down approaches from Real Madrid and Barcelona to sign for the Reds almost two years ago, is considered one of the hottest young talents in England.
He has won rave reviews for Liverpool reserves this season and recently trained with the first team at the invitation of manager Kenny Dalglish.
Suso - full name Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saenz de la Torre - is expected to break into the first team soon and give the Kop a new Spanish hero after the January departure of Fernando Torres.
Yet Hong Kong fans would not be seeing him but for Liverpool's epic Champions League triumph over AC Milan in 2005. The Reds famously came back from a 3-0 half-time deficit to win European club football's biggest trophy on penalties - and convince the Spanish youngster of his destiny.
'It was an amazing final and after that I really liked the idea of playing for this team,' Suso said. 'I was going to sign for Real Madrid but one day the phone rang and [then Liverpool manager] Rafael Benitez spoke to me.
'He convinced me Liverpool was the club for me and after that I had to change my plans. I feel very happy at Liverpool. I want to be here for many years and I want to go on and play for the first team.'
Suso will be part of a powerful Liverpool side competing at the three-day tournament, starting on Friday at Hong Kong Football Club.
The squad also includes defender Andre Wisdom, a key member of the England team that won the European U17 Championship last summer, and winger Thomas Ince, son of former Liverpool and England star Paul.
Also making their first appearance at the Soccer Sevens will be Argentine giants Boca Juniors plus the Hong Kong U18s and U21s squads. Defending champions Aston Villa are returning along with Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic, and Dutch giants Ajax.
Entry on Friday is free for all spectators, while children under 16 are allowed in free throughout the tournament. Adult tickets cost HK$200 for two days - Saturday and Sunday sold together - or HK$120 for one day.