How to watch Stoke v Liverpool

Liverpool are away to Stoke today in the Barclay’s Premier League and with it being a traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off it won’t be shown live on any of the UK’s TV channels. This makes it difficult for Reds without one of the 2753 allocated away tickets to see it.

The game will be shown live on TV around the world but for Reds based in the UK the only live coverage available through the mainstream media will be radio commentary and text updates. If Sebastian Coates or Craig Bellamy make their debuts under Kenny Dalglish today most British-based Reds will have to wait until the highlights are on late tonight – and with seven games (and analysis) to squeeze into an 80 minute programme there’s no guarantee Liverpool will get more than a five-minute slot. With no Thursday night Europa League games for Liverpool this season there won’t be as many games moved to a Sunday and seeing Andy Carroll ram his critics’ words down their throats with a little help from ‘El Pistolero’ Luis Suarez won’t always be too easy.

Stoke Liverpool on in the US

3pm kick-offs shown live on

The idea behind the live coverage restrictions for 3pm kick-offs is to protect attendances at other games up and down the country. The authorities are concerned that supporters will abandon their own team and stay at home instead to watch someone else’s teams battle it out in a higher division; no live football can be shown in Britain during that period of time, even if it’s football from a far-foreign land. As it happens AFC Liverpool (the grass-roots side set up by Liverpool supporters not to replace LFC but to offer an alternative way of seeing football) are playing their game tomorrow.

Not everyone is in a position to install a satellite system that can pick up broadcasts from different countries and not everyone is happy with the experience of trying to view online streams from questionable sources that can be low-quality to the point of being unwatchable, often don’t last a full game and might turn out not to be showing their own team’s game anyway. But fans want to see their teams, one way or another, and those who find ways around the restrictions aren’t always doing it to save money, it’s simply because they’ve not got any other way of seeing it, paid for or not.

One of the overseas territories where today’s game can be seen live is the US where Fox Soccer are streaming it live on their FoxSoccer.TV service. The service is restricted to subscribers with US IP addresses; your IP address is used in your internet communications and although not always accurate can be used to work out where you are accessing the internet from – this is why some content on sites like YouTube won’t play and the site shows a message instead informing you it isn’t available in your country.

Britannia Stadium Stoke v Liverpool

Britannia Stadium plays host to Stoke City v Liverpool - not on UK TV

At one time there was a large gap between a movie being shown in US cinemas and it appearing on the big screen in the UK. It wasn’t unusual for a movie to be released on DVD in the US at the same time as it was getting its first showing in the cinemas in UK. There was certainly a long gap between a DVD’s release date in the UK and the US. The simple answer was to try and buy the DVDs from the US and get them shipped over, but the movie companies thought up a way of blocking that.

Part of the DVD standard was a system aimed at restricting the content to certain regions – a DVD player would have a region code built in and could only play disks with that same region code. The US disks and players had a different region-code to UK disks and players and so imported DVDs from one country would not work in the players from another country. It was of course possible to buy a DVD player from the other region to use for the disks from there, but the players were still expensive at the time. Before too long companies were offering to modify, or were selling modified, DVD players where the region code was no longer checked by the player. Some DVD players could be set up into this mode by typing in a certain code on the remote control. Before too long sales of imported DVDs were going through the roof – why wait six months for a film that is available now for just about the same price?

There was a similar situation with games consoles where Japanese imports of games were available well before the official release in other countries and as long as you knew the way of tricking your console into playing the game you could use the imported version. Music has been imported for many years; even back in the days of vinyl there would be demand for an imported version of a particular record because it had a unique track listing, a unique remix, a different sleeve or just wasn’t available in the country. None of this is about piracy, piracy has existed for years too (remember “home taping is killing music” stickers in the 80s?), but importing and paying for otherwise unavailable content is not piracy. It’s great that Reds fans around the world can see how good Charlie Adam is, be witness to Jordan Henderson’s development and see why Stewart Downing cost what he did – but not so great that British-based Reds can miss out when a game is sold out.

The equivalent of getting a DVD player set to play content from other regions is to get an internet connection that is set to access content from other regions. The way to do this is to use a VPN (sometimes called a proxy server) a secure connection that routes your web traffic via a server elsewhere and is often used by large corporations for staff to securely connect to their internal networks from around the world. The VPN gives you the ability to access the content as if you were in that country – but as with DVDs, console games and vinyl records you still have to pay any charges for the content itself.

USA Proxy Server offer a VPN service that enables access to US content including Fox Soccer, Hulu, Pandora, Fox on Demand, ABC, CBS and more, so it’s not just football (or soccer) that can be seen thanks to the VPN service. Some of those services will require a subscription (as is the case with Fox Soccer), some are free. More details available on their USA proxy and American VPN Server info page.

Liverpool’s next game is on FoxSoccer.TV – next weekend’s visit to Spurs, a game to be televised on Sky Sports in the UK. Liverpool only have one home game in September, the 3pm kick-off on Saturday 24th against Wolves.