Brisbane Roar will go into Friday’s clash with English Premier League giants Liverpool FC without Socceroos Matt McKay and Luke DeVere.
McKay, the Roar captain, only returned to training on Monday after taking a delayed off-season break following the Socceroos’ 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan in a FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifier on 17 June.
DeVere, who made his Socceroos debut in the 2-2 draw with Germany in March, was injured in the Roar’s match against Spanish La Liga side Villarreal on 3 June. He has since undergone an operation on a torn rectus femoris (one of the four quadriceps muscles) in his left thigh.
Roar Head Coach John Aloisi said it was disappointing for both players to miss such a big match.
“The doctors are very pleased with Luke’s operation and he will begin rehab in a few weeks. We will have a better idea then how much longer he will be on the sidelines,” Aloisi said.
“Matt was obviously a tougher decision as he is always keen to play.
“But with just a couple of days training under his belt since his time off, our coaching and medical staff agreed that it was not worth the risk for him to play at this very early stage of his pre-season training.”
The Roar announced earlier this week that goalkeeper Michael Theo would miss the Liverpool match as he continues to strengthen the wrist he broke in pre-season training last year. A metal plate that has supported the mending bones was finally removed about six weeks ago.
The Roar still has plenty of experience in its squad – including international marquee Thomas Broich and former Socceroos Jade North and Shane Stefanutto – and is bristling with a host of talented youngsters.
They include Olyroos Jamie Maclaren (recruited last week from Perth Glory), James Donachie, Corey Brown and Brandon Borrello along with boom young midfielder Devante Clut, who netted a brace in the 3-0 win over Villarreal.
Friday’s match has no restrictions on substitutions and Aloisi is expected to fully utilise his bench.
“This is a game every player will remember for the rest of the careers,” Aloisi said.
“I know every Roar player who gets a chance to be on the same field as Liverpool will make the most of such a wonderful opportunity.”
Liverpool FC take on a Thai All-Stars side in Bangkok tonight and will head to Brisbane tomorrow.
The club has planned a busy program of coaching clinics and community engagement including the unveiling of their new away kit in King George Square on Thursday (5pm) followed by a walk down Caxton Street with Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga (5.30pm) and an open training session at Suncorp Stadium (7.30). Friday's match kicks off at 6.45pm.