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Liverpool unveil details for $78 million Anfield redevelopment

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Liverpool have published plans to pump $78 million into its historic Anfield stadium, increasing the capacity by 7,000 new seats and rerouting Anfield Road to bypass the expanded section.

The redevelopment plan is still in the planning phase but Liverpool confirmed it has a view towards beginning construction later this year, hoping to have the entire project completed by the summer of 2022. The next step in the process is to submit a full permission application to the Liverpool City Council by March.

Of the increased capacity, the club announced that 5,200 seats will be offered to “general admission” while 1,800 will be reserved for lounge and hospitality seating. The Athletic reports that it is currently unclear how many of the general admission seats – if any – will be used to help alleviate the 23,000 season ticket waiting list that has been closed since 2011.

The new capacity will all be dumped into the Anfield Road End, which then necessitated the rerouting of Anfield Road after concerns were raised about the potential closing of the road. This will allow access around the stadium to remain intact on non-match days. The plan also confirmed that the stand will not be deconstructed and replaced, but instead will be expanded as well as refurbished. The current plan suggests that because construction will take place behind and above the current stand, little effect on matchday capacity will take place, although it’s likely that at least some disruption to matchday flow of traffic and pedestrians will take effect.

“Overall the feedback has been really positive,” said Liverpool’s chief commercial officer Andy Hughes. “We had 93 per cent positive support for the overall scheme. I knew the road closure was an issue for a small number of local residents. We’ve listened, we’ve gone back, had another look at the design, and I think we’ve come up with some really good solutions to those issues. We’ve managed to carve out just enough space to get the road diverted round the back of the stadium.”

With the historic stadium and recent success of the club, Anfield has been sold out for quite some time, but Hughes seemed adamant that the additional capacity seems to be maxing out the space available in the current location. “Based on our current plans, it’s not going any bigger than 61,000. That’s the conclusion we reached,” he said. “Why? It’s design, footprint, the space we have. We looked at this design many, many times over and we think it optimizes the space available.”

The Athletic also reported that the club is considering selling the naming rights to the expanded area, while there are no plans to add safe standing areas in the current expansion.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

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It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

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The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

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A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf