Premier League football club Liverpool has confirmed that the upper tier of the expanded Anfield Road Stand will be partially open for the match against Manchester United on December 17.
The project has been hit by delays after Buckingham Group Contracting, which had been leading the £80m (€92m/$100m) expansion, entered administration in September. The expansion of the stand will add 7,000 seats to Anfield and increase the stadium’s overall capacity to 61,000.
The new stand had initially been due to open for the start of this season, but Liverpool confirmed in July that Anfield would operate at a reduced capacity for the opening exchanges of the campaign due to delays in the delivery.
Following Buckingham’s administration, Liverpool appointed Rayner Rowen Construction to deliver the final stages of building work for the project. Last month, Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan said that the new upper tier would not be ready until 2024, but progress has been made since then and it will now partially open before Christmas.
Liverpool said today (Thursday) that “several thousand” general admission seats are expected to be made available for the Manchester United match next month. This is subject to an ‘internal emergency conditions’ test managed in conjunction with Liverpool City Council and a public test event, which is expected to take place during the week commencing December 11.
The public test event is required to obtain a licence to have the additional seats for the Manchester United match, as well as subsequent fixtures against West Ham United on December 20, Arsenal on December 23, and Newcastle United on January 1.
The test event will test the building, systems and management plans, using the welfare facilities, testing entry and exit procedures and fire alarm evacuation. The event will need around 3,000 people in the upper tier to thoroughly test the stand, with more information to be provided in due course.
Liverpool added that there is still more work to be completed before the stand can be fully operational and able to welcome 61,000 fans to Anfield.