Liverpool has been regular visitors to Oslo in recent years but today’s trip to face Valerenga will be unlike any other.
Norway is a nation grieving after the horrific terrorist attacks 10 days ago which claimed 77 lives.
A car bomb at a government building in the capital killed eight with another 69 shot dead on the island of Utoya.
“The whole country is still in shock,” admits former Reds defender Vegard Heggem.
“It has affected everyone in a huge way.
“When I saw the pictures on my TV screen I just couldn’t believe what had gone on.
“You ask yourself how this could possibly happen in a small and peaceful country like this.
“It’s going to take a long time for people to come to terms with what happened.
“It will certainly change this country forever.”
At times like this football seems inconsequential but ex-Norway international Heggem has praised Liverpool’s decision to honour tonight’s friendly.
The Reds have a huge Scandinavian fan base and the 36-year-old says the visit of Kenny Dalglish’s side will have a positive affect on his devastated homeland.
“I’m really happy that Liverpool are still coming to Oslo to play,” he said.
“It means a lot to the club’s Norwegian fans when they come to play here.
“Of course everyone is still hurting from what happened here but you can’t just stop everything entirely.
“Slowly but surely people are trying to get back to every day life and it’s important that as a country we carry on.
“Liverpool as a club is very conscious about values. The club is all about togetherness and that’s what people admire about the club.
“It will be good for the people here to come together on Monday and enjoy the game. It’s all part of starting to move on.”
Valerenga may be at home tonight but Liverpool won’t be short of support in the 25,000 capacity Ullevaal Stadium.
“Fans will be travelling from all across Scandinavia to watch this game and it will be a sell-out,” Heggem said.
“Liverpool’s popularity is massive here. Many Norwegians started to follow the club in the 70s and 80s when the club enjoyed some great periods of success.
“And the fact that the club has had a number of Scandinavian players playing for them over the years has ensured that interest has been maintained.”
Heggem made 65 appearances for the Reds after signing from Rosenborg for £3.5million in 1998 but the talented right-back was hampered by injuries.
He retired in 2003 and returned to Norway where he owns and manages a fly fishing lodge on the Orkla river.
Business is busy but Heggem retains a close affinity with Anfield.
“I loved my time at Liverpool and I’m still a big fan myself,” he said.
“I watch the games and I try to get across to Anfield at least once every season. When you have lived in Liverpool for five years it does something to you. I will follow Liverpool for the rest of my life.
“When I moved back to Norway I took over running the fishing lodge from my parents. It’s on the farm where I grew up about an hour south of Trondheim in central Norway.
“We get visits from anglers from all over the world who come here to fish for wild salmon. June, July and August are the very busy months.
“There’s also a lot of work in terms of planning and marketing so it takes up a lot of my time but it’s going well.”
Heggem will be at tonight’s game and he expects the Reds to return to winning ways after back to back friendly defeats.
The Norwegian League is around the midway point and Valerenga are down in 10th place, some 14 points adrift of leaders Molde. When the clubs last met in 2008 Liverpool were convincing 4-1 winners.
“Norwegian club football is not as good as it was some years ago,” Heggem said.
“Valerenga were expected to be serious title contenders here this year but they have disappointed their fans.
“It’s a game Liverpool should win quite easily but you have to take into account that Liverpool are in pre-season. Valerenga are in the middle of their season so they will be more match fit.
“It should be a decent test which Liverpool will need with the Premier League starting again soon.
“It will be a useful game for them and it’s also a very valuable game for the club to keep close contact with their Norwegian fan base. There is a lot of excitement about the game.”
Dalglish will field a much stronger side than the one involved against Galatasaray last Thursday.
Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger are set to return to action along with new boys Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson.
Heggem is bullish about his old club’s future under Dalglish. “We’ve made some good signings and there’s a lot of optimism,” he said.
“It was a disappointing season for the club last year and not qualifying for Europe didn’t feel good.
“We fell a long way behind the other top clubs but things improved a lot after Kenny Dalglish took over.
“I hope the club bounces back. We want to see Liverpool get back to competing for the title.”