Liverpool have cancelled their pre-season tour to Japan, because of fixture congestion caused by the defence of their Champions League trophy.

As holders, Liverpool will have to start out at the first round qualifying stage which starts on 12/13 July.

Reds chief executive Rick Parry said: “We’ve explored ways to fulfil our commitment but had to cancel.”

They were due to play against the J-League’s Shimizu S-Pulse on 27 July and Kashima on 30 July.

“We would like to express our sincere regret to all Japanese fans who would have enjoyed seeing the matches. We look forward to being able to visit Japan as soon as possible,” added Parry.