Liverpool have opened a football academy in China with the help of club legend Ian Rush.
The Welshman made the trip to Asia as part of a Reds delegation that have teamed up with Guilin Kingsborn. The pair will operate a purpose-built facility in the Guangxi Zhuang region.
Liverpool will provide coaches to work on the project, with the aim to develop local coaches and the standard of the game in the region, as well as providing career opportunities for others.
Long term, the hope must surely be to bring through a player who could grace the first team at Anfield. The Reds have never fielded a player from the Far East, despite the obvious commercial value that comes with such a player at a high-profile club.
“We are thrilled to have found a fantastic partner in Guilin Kingsborn, helping us reach and connect with our LFC family in China,” said Billy Hogan, chief commercial officer at Liverpool.
“Our Guilin International Football Academy will help the club leave a lasting legacy in the region through the development of young players and local coaches and also an experience for Liverpool fans in the country.
“We look forward to welcoming new players in to this fantastic facility and sharing with them the Liverpool Way of coaching.”
In an effort to add an authenticity to their facility in China, Liverpool will also add a museum, boot room café and retail story.
Understandably, it’s a project that excites Rush, who enjoyed two hugely successful spells on Merseyside.
“It’s when you visit places like this that you realise just how lucky we are to have the lives we have. Seeing the children with big smiles on their faces was fantastic but I think the real heroes at places like these are the staff who look after the children and care for them every day. It can’t be easy at all but they do a wonderful job,” said Rush on his trip, according to the Liverpool Echo.
“When Liverpool travel abroad, it’s important that we keep visiting places like this. It’s the Liverpool way.”
Time will tell as to whether the Premier League giants will ever see a return on the pitch in the future.