It was built up as a special night, and Steven Gerrard and his Liverpool men didn’t disappoint.
The leading man starred. So too the hometown boy. The hero who might yet turn villain played his part. The support cast was excellent, as was the atmosphere.
In terms of sporting theatre, Barclays Premier League giants Liverpool’s first visit to Australia produced a perfect night of entertainment.
And it ended with the ideal scoreline.
The 2-0 win, with goals to Gerrard and new signing Iago Aspas, over Melbourne Victory at a packed MCG on Wednesday night gave everyone – even the losing team – some kind of feelgood factor to take away.
Once the spine-tingling sound of 95,446 singing You’ll Never Walk Alone – the club’s long-time pre-match anthem – faded, the pre-season friendly proved just as memorable.
The wonderful Steven Gerrard, cheered at every corner by every corner of the packed MCG, scored a superb first-half goal to delight the Liverpool fans.
Liverpool’s Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones was forced into quality saves in each half.
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who apparently wants out of Merseyside, played the final 18 minutes to rousing cheers to suggest Liverpool aren’t seriously entertaining Arsenal’s overtures to buy him.
And an understrength Victory also held up the A-League’s end of the bargain, playing decent possession football and testing Liverpool at times, especially in the first half-hour.
But it was Gerrard who unlocked a seemingly watertight Victory in the 32nd minute.
His neat stepover allowed midfielder Joe Allen to run at the defence, then return a pass for Gerrard to hammer home from the poacher’s void just inside the box he fills like no other Englishman.
The Victory produced a much stiffer, more composed performance than the A-League All-Stars thrown together and battered by Manchester United in Sydney a few days earlier.
Andrew Nabbout and Connor Pain, among seven players under the age of 21 in Victory’s starting line-up, could have had goals against Liverpool were it not for excellent Jones saves.
Gerrard made way on the hour, and then Suarez made his way on to the ground among wholesale substitutions in the 72nd minute.
And he created the second goal in stoppage time with a delightful spin around a defender, before supplying a pass for Iago Aspas to tap in.