Liverpool FC leave Melwood: The best (and worst) photos from the last 20 years

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As Liverpool FC bid farewell to Melwood, the club’s legendary training ground for the last 70 years, we take a look through the best photos from the last 20 years.

Melwood has been part of the fabric of Liverpool Football Club since the 1950s and has witnessed 43 major honours, over 14 managers and countless players walk in and out of its famous doors.

It wasn’t always as pretty on the eye, with Bill Shankly labelling it a “sorry wilderness” as the pitches were riddled with divets and patches while inside there was no heating and paint was peeling off the walls upon his arrival in 1959.

It didn’t stay that way for long as Shankly and his men got to work, laying foundations for the many successful years which were to follow.

Over 60 years later, however, it is time for pastures new with Jurgen Klopp and co. to relocate to the new state-of-the-art AXA Training Centre in Kirkby – linking the academy with the first-team.

With the Reds to take to the Melwood pitches for the final time on the eve of the trip to Man City, a trip down memory lane is in order as we review some of the best photos from Melwood over the last 20 years.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 29, 2008: Liverpool's Melwood Training Ground. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In addition to its regular duties to prepare for the games ahead, it has also been the setting for new player unveilings – some more memorable for all the right reasons than others.

From Patrik Berger in 1996 to Dirk Kuyt in 2006, to Emile Heskey in 2000, Javier Mascherano in 2007 and Robbie Keane in 2008 – they were all given the Melwood treatment upon their arrival at the club.

Emile Heskey signing, unveiled at Melwood, March 2000 (Magi Haroun/EMPICS Sport)

Liverpool, England - Friday, February 23, 2007: Liverpool's new signing Javier Mascherano with manager manager Rafael Benitez at a photo-call at the club's Melwood Training Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 29, 2008: Liverpool's new signing Robbie Keane with manager Rafael Benitez at the club's Melwood Training Ground. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And this is one where ‘a picture worth a thousand words’ comes into play – aside from the bloke on the far left, he always looked set for greatness…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 3, 2011: Liverpool's manager Kenny Dalglish with his latest signings (left to right) Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, goalkeeper Alexander Doni and Stewart Downing as they pose for photographers following a press conference at the club's Melwood Training Ground. (Pic by Propaganda)

Another memorable sight to grace the training base was ‘Pako Hill’, a brainchild of Rafa Benitez’s former assistant manager Pako Ayestaran.

As part of a bid to see Liverpool become one of the fittest teams in the world, the man-made hill was created in 2006 by mounting turf where players were then able to run up and down to improve their stamina.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, November 14, 2008: Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard lead their players running up a hill during a training session at the club's Melwood training ground. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The famous sweatbox, meanwhile, is a more common site on training grounds around the world, and was used by Benitez as an aid which sees players hit numbers on portable shooting boards arranged as a square.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 26, 2008: 'Sweat boxes' training aids at Liverpool's Melwood Training Ground. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Spaniard’s training sessions were no walk in the park and a number of stars graced the pitches throughout his tenure.

Liverpool, England - Tuesday, October 2, 2007: Liverpool's Fernando Torres and goalkeeper Jose Pepe Reina training at Melwood ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A match against Olympique de Marseille. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, October 19, 2009: Liverpool's Javier Mascherano during training at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match against Olympique Lyonnais. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 28, 2010: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE and Jamie Carragher during training at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Club Atletico de Madrid. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 28, 2010: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE and Jamie Carragher during training at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Club Atletico de Madrid. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Players of that era were also tasked with a photoshoot or two, with Gerrard pictured here inside Melwood for an Adidas shoot while Carra turned his hand for the club’s fashion catalogue – whether he looks best pleased I’ll leave to you to decide…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 14, 2010: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE during an Adidas photo shoot. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 14, 2010: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard MBE during an Adidas photo shoot. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, January 7th, 2011: Liverpool's Jamie Carragher poses for a photoshoot for the Liverpool FC fashion catelogue at the club's Melwood Training Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fast-forward to the current manager and there have been a number of noteworthy moments and sessions with a team he has seen become World, European and English champions.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, March 12, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between FC Bayern München and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, November 4, 2019: Liverpool's xxxx during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Liverpool FC and KRC Genk. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 17, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (centre) shares a joke with Virgil van Dijk (left) and Joe Gomez (right) during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And the indoor pitch at Melwood was host to Klopp’s pre-Champions League final press conference in 2019, one of the final days before Liverpool’s European Cup tally became six.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 16, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks to his squad during a training session at Melwood Training Ground ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group E match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

It has also remained the home for club legends ahead of special charity matches throughout the years.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, May 12, 2009: Ex-Liverpool players during a training session at Melwood as the players prepare for the Hillsborough Memorial Game in aid of the Marina Dalglish Appeal which will be staged at Anfield on May 14. Back row L-R: Gary Ablett, Jan Molby, Paul Harrison, Gary Gillespie, Mark Lawrenson. Front row L-R: Jean-Paul Sproson, Ronnie Whelan, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush. (Photo by Dave Kendall/Propaganda)

And one thing has never changed, and that’s the creative ingenuity of fans desperate to catch a glimpse of their heroes and their team over the walls which surround Melwood.

Liverpool, England - Tuesday, October 2, 2007: Liverpool fans watch from over a wall as their team train at Melwood ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group A match against Olympique de Marseille. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 18, 2010: A Liverpool supporter uses his car to get a good vantage point to peer over the wall of the club's Melwood training ground to get a glimpse of the players training ahead of the UEFA Europa League Play-Off 1st Leg match against Trabzonspor A.S. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As Klopp noted on the eve of the club’s move, there are a lot of “mixed emotions,” but those who make the club what it is will still be there at Kirkby.

From Shankly to Klopp, Melwood has served the Reds well over the last 70 years and now a new future awaits where the first team and the academy can thrive together.

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