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In Liverpool, play and learn

If football speaks English, learn it “the Liverpool way” in a school called Anfield.

At a summer programme with the Reds from Merseyside, children between 11 and 17 years will be able to pick up skills to strike it like Luis Suarez and Stevie G. as well as know if a goal is scored “against” the run of play and not “during” it.

Tour operator Cox & Kings has signed an agreement with Liverpool Football Club E.L.I.T.E.S (Education and Learning Initiative Training Entrepreneurs in Sport) to offer the two-week residential programme that combines football and language training.

The LFC E.L.I.T.E.S is a global education and training initiative between the club and the London School of Business and Finance.

The programme slated for July-August, shortly after the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, was announced on Tuesday, complimenting Liverpool’s superb run in the English league that could see them win the premiership after 24 years.

Ravi Menon, vice-president of Cox & Kings, said the learning holiday “is a unique proposition for children in middle and high schools who will get an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of Liverpool and hone their English as well”.

The all-India programme has been launched in Calcutta, given football’s popularity in the city.

Cox & Kings officials were confident the programme would do well because of the growing popularity of English football among the youth, especially schoolchildren.

They hope to attract about 200 students from across the country and send them to Liverpool in batches.

At Rs 1.20 lakh (£1,170) per week, the 14-day tour costs Rs 2.40 lakh and it includes charges for tuition, coaching, accommodation and weekend excursions. The prized attraction will be a behind-the-scene tour to Liverpool’s 45,000-seater home ground, Anfield.

“Besides learning to play like Liverpool, the students will be able to polish their vocabulary in a course designed by the English Gallery department that will help them improve their communication skills on and off the field,” said Teena Pathak, regional director of the London School of Business and Finance.

The little hitch could be the timing because all schools in India would be open around July-August, unlike the summer break in UK schools around that time.

Tour officials said they would discuss with schools across Calcutta to allow children to take the trip.

“We are planning to meet the authorities of several schools. Most of the schools give priority to sports. We will try to convince them about the potential the programme would offer to their students,” Menon said.

A meeting with Liverpool stars Gerrard and Suarez may not materialise for the kids but the organisers promised that club coaches would pick candidates from the group and accord them with the title “footballer with potential”.

“This sounds exciting. Any Liverpool supporter would be eager to set foot on Anfield and train in the academy,” said Krishnendu Biswas, the president of Bengal Kop or Liverpool Supporters Club in Calcutta, which has over 1,000 followers on Facebook.