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.