PHOTOS: Liverpool reveal ambitious Anfield expansion plans

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On the verge of winning their first-ever Premier League title and already qualified for next season’s UEFA Champions League, the good news just keeps rolling in for fans of Liverpool Football Club.

Things could be getting even better at their Anfield home, too.

Liverpool have released stunning images of their proposed expansion of Anfield, which has been in planned for many years but held back for a number of reasons, and is now extremely close to becoming a reality. In a statement released by the club, along with a bevvy of beautiful photos which you can drool over below, the Merseyside outfit laid out the timeline and details of their proposed initial expansion of their home since 1892. For anyone who has been to Anfield, the terraced houses lining up around it are the biggest stumbling block in the redevelopment but the club has been working tirelessly to acquire those houses left in order to kick on with their plans.

The club has now unveiled its stadium expansion plans, which will see the capacity increased in both the Main Stand and the Anfield Road end. If permission is granted to go ahead with the project, Anfield’s capacity for the start of the 2016-17 season would be 58,500.

Here are more details on the plans, as

“Liverpool Football Club has unveiled its stadium expansion plans with detailed proposals for the expansion of its Main Stand and outline proposals for expansion of its Anfield Road Stand. Public consultation and exhibitions on the proposals are scheduled for this week and LFC is asking for residents, fans and local businesses to give their views as part of its planning application which the Club expects to submit in the summer. The exhibition shows the detailed design proposals for the redevelopment of the Main Stand which could add an additional 8,500 seats taking the Main Stand capacity to nearly 21,000 and overall Anfield capacity to around 54,000. Incorporating the iconic Club Crest into the proposed Main Stand’s exterior elevation, the scheme will also include a two-storey podium and a carefully designed cloister which will become the new home for the Hillsborough Memorial. The Main Stand will open onto a wide public concourse which will link the Stadium into the wider Anfield area.”

Liverpool will be working alongside the City Council to regenerate the entire Anfield area with new housing and other local amenities linked to the redevelopment of Anfield. Ian Ayre, Managing Director, Liverpool Football Club is excited for the prospect of a redeveloped Anfield, as a public consultation process will take place this week as the local residents will get their say on the new plans.

While the Mayor of Liverpol, Joe Anderson, had the following to say:

“This is another important step in our ambitions to transform the Anfield area, bringing new jobs, investment and housing. The overall regeneration of Anfield will see £260m invested in the local community and will deliver hundreds of jobs – Liverpool Football Club’s proposals for the stadium are a key part of this. We are all committed to delivering a brighter future for Anfield and the Club’s exhibition is a clear signal that real progress is being made with all our plans.”

The future regeneration of Anfield even has its own website, which you can visit here to find out all the latest news.

Here are more impressive photos of the proposed redevelopment of Anfield, as the aura and prestige of the famous venue will be kept intact.

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What the outside of the newly developed Main Stand will look like. Source: Liverpool Football Club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An aerial shot of how Anfield will look. Source: Liverpool Football Club

 

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Another look at the stunning plans for the Main Stand expansion. Source: Liverpool Football Club

VIDEO: Schweinsteiger asked if Chicago Fire can win World Cup

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Big press conferences bring unusual media members out of the woodwork, and this can be pretty embarrassing when it comes to sports.

I remember a few years ago in Buffalo, when the NHL’s Sabres had not resigned Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. A TV newsman, not known for his sports coverage, asked the general manager what they would say to fans who bought Drury and Briere jerseys.

The awkward reply: “Sorry?”

[ MORE: Lamela out for rest of season ]

There was no exception when the Chicago Fire unveiled Bastian Schweinsteiger on Wednesday. The World Cup winning midfielder faced the press and was asked if his arrival would help Chicago win the World Cup.

You read that right. Here’s the video, even as the communications man jumped in to try and save the reporter by suggesting he meant the FIFA Club World Cup.

Woof. The media overseas are having a field day with this one, but it doesn’t have anything to do with American soccer fans, perhaps even sports media. I’d be stunned if the reporter spent a ton of time around the game.

But man, oh man.

Celtic’s dominance under Rodgers reaching new levels

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They’re unbeaten in 29 games, winning 27 of them. They hold a 25-point lead. They’re about to clinch a sixth straight league title this weekend and it’s still not even April.

Celtic’s players have taken their supremacy of Scottish soccer to a new level this season, putting the storied club from Glasgow in the conversation when discussing the most dominant sides in Europe’s domestic leagues in the 21st century.

Celtic will be the Scottish champion again as early as Friday if its closest rival, Aberdeen, loses to Dundee. If Aberdeen wins, Celtic will take an unassailable lead in the Scottish Premiership by beating Hearts on Sunday.

[ MORE: Lamela out for rest of season ]

There’s been a sense of inevitability about the whole thing since the turn of the year, by which time Celtic had jumped into a 19-point lead. It’s long stopped being called a “title race” in Scotland, more a procession.

Meanwhile, the team coached by former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers won the Scottish League Cup in late November and is also through to the semifinals of the Scottish Cup.

With Celtic’s unbeaten run across three domestic competitions currently at 36 games, this might be the most dominant season by any club in the history of Scotland’s top flight.

A glance around Europe shows a few other examples of title monopolies.

Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and BATE Borisov (Belarus) are currently on a streak of 11 domestic leagues titles in a row since 2006. Olympiakos is on course for a seventh straight Greek league title, which would be its 12th in the last 13 years, and Sheriff Tiraspol has won the Moldovan league every year except one since 2000. Basel leads the Swiss league by 17 points and is about to seal a ninth title in 10 years.

[ MORE: Zlatan to stay at United?

In these lesser-profile leagues, teams can dominate because of the cash they receive from participating in UEFA competitions, which often allow them to outspend their domestic rivals.

Last week, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, attending a conference in Lisbon, spoke of the threats to European soccer in the coming years, including the “decrease in competitive balance within European club competitions and secondary effects affecting domestic competitions.”

There are examples of lopsided championships in Europe’s big leagues, too: Juventus is closing on an unprecedented sixth straight Serie A title in Italy and on course for a third straight Serie A-Coppa Italia double; Bayern Munich is on course for a fifth straight Bundesliga title in Germany, which included winning one championship after 27 matches of a 34-round league; Lyon won the French league title seven times in succession from 2002; and Ajax won four straight titles in the Netherlands from 2011-14.

Scotland is widely regarded as a backwater in European soccer these days, mainly because of the uncompetitive nature of its league and an increasing lack of exposure and coverage outside Britain.

What didn’t help was Rangers – Celtic’s fierce crosstown rival and winner of a record 54 league titles – getting demoted to the fourth tier of the Scottish game in 2012 because of financial irregularities.

This is Rangers’ first season back in the Premiership, but it hasn’t been able to challenge Celtic and currently sits 33 points behind in third place. There used to be constant talk of the two “Old Firm” clubs crossing the border to join the English league but that has cooled.

“I want to win (the league) by 50 points,” Rodgers, who is in his first season at Celtic, said last month.

[ MORE: RSL hires Petke ]

In any other league, that would be a preposterous comment, but perhaps no longer in Scotland.

The season started so embarrassingly for Celtic and Rodgers, a 1-0 loss to Gibraltarian part-timer Lincoln Red Imps in a Champions League qualifier in July described by some pundits as the club’s worst defeat in its 130-year history.

Now, they are about to lift the league title with eight matches to spare and potentially in the month of March for the second time in four years.

“We want to continue winning, continue the run that we’re on,” Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon said, “and make sure we do that for as long as we can.”

AP Sports Writers Graham Dunbar in Geneva and James Ellingworth in Moscow, and Associated Press writers Ciaran Fahey in Berlin, Daniella Matar in Milan, Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, and Raf Casert in Brussels, Belgium, contributed to this report.

Steve Douglas is at http://www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

Mourinho: Midseason international friendlies don’t make sense

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Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United has a big challenge thanks to injuries and a club with far more international participants than the weekend’s Premier League rival.

It has the manager asking, frankly, why the friendlies?

While Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were injured in England training, not the friendly against Germany nor the World Cup qualifier versus Lithuania, Mourinho wonders why the national teams need to play relatively meaningless matches in the middle of club season.

[ MORE: Lamela out for rest of season ]

Mourinho says he is being careful not to be too vocal about his disappointment given that he’ll probably one day need those friendlies as an international boss. From Sky Sports:

“A couple of weeks before the Euros or a couple of weeks before the World Cup makes sense. But mid-season friendly matches mixed with qualification matches, I don’t think that makes sense.

“On top of that the matches are not really big matches so I am not a big fan. But I think one day I will be there so I cannot be very critical.”

Mourinho will be without Jones, Smalling, and Paul Pogba this weekend. He also has several internationals who won’t arrive back at Old Trafford until Thursday. United hosts West Brom on Saturday.

Lamela needs hip surgery, out for rest of Spurs season

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Tottenham Hotspur won’t be getting an Erik Lamela boost any time soon.

The 25-year-old winger will undergo surgery on his ailing hip this Saturday, costing him availability for Spurs’ stretch run and Argentina duty.

[ MORE: RSL hires Petke ]

Lamela has been missing since Oct. 29, and left Spurs lineup with the team unbeaten in the Premier League (5W-4D).

He registered a goal and an assist in PL play, adding a goal and four helpers in the side’s first two rounds of the EFL Cup and two assists in three Champions League matches.