As the Liverpool legends prepare to take on Man United in their charity clash at Old Trafford today, one returning face is expecting a “tougher time” than usual.
After the success of the Liverpool Legends’ exhibition friendly against Barcelona at Anfield, the ex-Reds are on the road this time around.
The 2-1 loss to their Spanish counterparts in March saw a sell-out crowd help raise £1 million for the LFC Foundation and various other causes, including Forever Reds and the Owen McVeigh Foundation.
Some of those who featured that day will be making the trip to Manchester this afternoon, but the Liverpool side to play Man United also includes a number of new faces.
Jermaine Pennant, who made 81 appearances for the club in the late 2000s including a man-of-the-match display in the 2007 Champions League final, is among those in the squad.
Speaking to This Is Anfield ahead of the game, Pennant relished another instalment in a “massive” rivalry.
“It’s always a tough time playing Man United – well it was – and I’m sure it’s going to be tougher this time around now,” the 39-year-old winger said.
“I enjoy playing against them, especially being a Liverpool boy, a supporter, an ex-player.
“The rivalry is always massive, it doesn’t matter if it’s ‘competitive’, Premier League, it doesn’t matter what kind of level it is, it’s always competitive and it’s going to be a good atmosphere for sure.”
It will be Pennant’s third time representing the Liverpool Legends, having last worn the shirt in action during a 3-2 win over Rangers in Glasgow in 2019.
“It’s going to feel great. Some old legends, some past team-mates, players I played against as well probably,” he continued.
“It’s always amazing to be involved with Liverpool.
“Whether it’s on the pitch, off the pitch, LFCTV, it’s always a pleasure and I enjoy every moment of it.”
The likes of Jamie Carragher, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez are also involved this afternoon, with Pennant successful in his pitch to join them.
“I’m close with Jason McAteer, and I’m always saying ‘is there any danger of getting me involved?’,” he explained.
“I spoke to Aldridge as well, because we do some tours together as well, and they just put me in touch and obviously Sir Kenny and Ian Rush picked the team and I made the cut this year!”
These occasions are, of course, about raising funds for the club charities, but for the players it is an opportunity to play in front of the fans again – and catch up with old friends.
“I want to see Mark Gonzalez,” Pennant told This Is Anfield.
“He had something wrong with his heart and wasn’t well at one stage, so it will be nice to see him back, fit and well and playing football.
“Dirk Kuyt’s going to be there as well from my era, so there’ll be some faces from my team who it’ll be good to see for sure.”