Liverpool’s plans to extend the Anfield Road end are to be delayed by “at least 12 months” due to the widespread effect of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the coronavirus having caused the nation to come to a standstill in recent months, Liverpool are set to feel its impact beyond the action on the field and on the balance sheet.
Work on the expansion of the club’s new Kirkby training base was halted in mid-March and is set to face a delay to its completion date, and Anfield itself now faces its own setback.
The Reds were in the second-stage of their public consultation for the new £60 million stand which would take the ground’s overall capacity to around 61,000 in time for the 2022/23 season before the pandemic hit.
Work had been scheduled to start this Autumn, pending approval and confirmation, beginning with establishing the foundations and substructure.
The new two-tier stand was set to be open for the entirety of the project to avoid any loss of matchday revenue, but despite matches set to take place behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, plans have needed to be reassessed.
Like much of normal life, the construction industry has been affected by various delays to projects and in turn, the Reds’ initial plans have been forced to change.
- Liverpool expect “at least 12-month” delay on Anfield Road stand expansion
- Project paused due to uncertainty in the construction industry amid coronavirus
- The earliest target date for completion is now summer 2023, instead of 2022
- Plans for the stand will take capacity to 61,000
- Both Anfield Road expansion and Kirkby training complex now delayed
In a statement released by Liverpool, chief operating officer, Andy Hughes said: “The complex build programme for Anfield Road is an 18-month process and needs two clear summer closed season windows in order for it to be successful.
“This is why we are pausing on the project for at least 12 months so the earliest we could complete the programme is summer 2023 rather than summer 2022 as originally planned.
“Given the planning application is no longer time-critical, it is our intention to submit our planning application at some stage during the next 12 months.”
A 12-month delay would result in the Anfield Road stand not being ready until the start of the 2023/24 season, at the earliest, which coincides with the final year of Jurgen Klopp‘s contract.
It comes as disappointing news as it was another timely step in the right direction for the world and European champions and it means issues pertaining to ticket access will persist – once fans are to be allowed in stadiums.
But as the club has stated, due to the challenges many are facing in this current time it is a “responsible approach to pause the project.”