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NEW Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers couldn’t hide his delight when he found out the Anfield side were coming to this year’s tournament.

The Carnlough man was not only thrilled about the fact the club were making a return to the competition, but also that they were drawn to play in his home county on the opening day!

“I was double delighted,” said Rodgers.

“The Milk Cup is a special competition to me. I played in it and took Chelsea teams there to compete in it.

“The event will give our young players a super opportunity and the fact they are coming up against County Antrim to atrt with is superb.”

Rodgers played three times at the Milk Cup for Ballymena in the 1980s. He also introduced Chelsea to the Premier tournament in 2005.

“That visit broke new ground for us,” said Milk Cup chairman Victor Leonard.

“With Manchester United and Everton regularly here and having welcomed Liverpool in the past, it was important for us to secure another Premier League club.”

Chelsea, with Scott Sinclair on board, reached the final in their first year, losing 1-0 to an impressive Barcelona side.

Victor added: “Chelsea felt it was even more beneficial for players to compete at Junior level and sent teams to see how the Under-15s would react to a tournament situation as part of their education.

“We are delighted that Brendan has taken another massive step in his managerial career with Liverpool.

“We wish him well and perhaps he will be tempted to come across and see his new club’s Juniors in action as the club is returning for the first time in several years.”