Lucky fan meets Reds players

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Gerrard with a JMU Journalism shirt

A lucky Liverpool fan was given the opportunity to visit the club’s Melwood training complex and meet several star players…. and JMU Journalism got an unbelievable chance to go along with him.

Ben Johnson entered a Lucozade Sport competition on the official club website to win a prize package, which also includes VIP tickets for the home match against Sunderland and the chance to walk onto the pitch at half-time. We were only there for the training ground experience, but what an experience it was.

Ben said: “I entered but it was one of those that you never to expect to hear anything about again. I got a call on Wednesday to tell me I had won and I couldn’t believe it. I kept reading the e-mail I was sent to make sure it was true.”

Entrants were asked to guess what captain Steven Gerrard considered to be his favourite goal for the club, and Ben correctly guessed that the right answer was his goal in the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan.

Before being given a tour of the training ground, several key players stopped for pictures and autographs. Ben got to meet Steven Gerrard, Yossi Benayoun, Glen Johnson, Alberto Aquilani and manager Rafa Benitez as well as many others.

Ben said: “It was a shame that Fernando Torres wasn’t there but it was amazing to meet people like Gerrard and Benitez. I even tried to talk a little bit of Spanish with Benitez, who was really friendly.

“They were all kind enough to stop and sign my Liverpool shirt so that is something I can treasure. Along with the pictures I have taken, it has made for a memorable day.”

The tour included a look at the team dressing room, the gymnasium and the press office, where the team and manager give interviews and press conferences.

Ben was then allowed to watch the team put through their paces by Benitez as they conducted their morning training session.

He said: “It was interesting to see how the players train and how active a role Benitez takes. Watching them makes you realise how much they are proper athletes, in terms of fitness and strength.”

This once-in-a-lifetime experience will continue on Sunday when Ben is invited to a three-course lunch with a club legend before the match against Sunderland. He will then enjoy VIP seats for the game and will be taken onto the famous Anfield pitch at half-time.

About Chris Shaw, Senior Editor