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Design & Development

Liverpool gets green light to open new stand

Featured image credit: Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC has announced that Anfield is set to welcome its biggest crowd in half a century for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Manchester United, after the club’s new Anfield Road Stand staged a successful test event.

After putting the first spade in the ground when construction work began in September 2021, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was the headline guest as 7,000 fans attended the free test event on Monday evening.

Liverpool is now looking forward to welcoming more than 57,000 fans to Anfield at the weekend, with the next stage of the planned phased opening of the new Anfield Road Stand seeing the expanded upper tier officially open for supporters for the first time.

Following the test event, Liverpool City Council today (Wednesday) announced that it had granted all the necessary health and safety licences for the facility. The Council said in a statement on Twitter/X: “The Council’s Ground Safety Advisory Group (GSAG) has recommended  @LFC be granted a new interim safety certificate for #Anfield stadium allowing an extra 7,000 fans into the upper tier of the new Anfield Rd stand. The approval follows a successful test event.

“The Council’s GSAG will meet again in Jan 2024 to consider approval for a full safety certificate to include the front 12 rows of the upper tier of the Anfield Rd stand. If approved this would allow @LFC to host a full capacity match of 60,000 fans at their iconic stadium.”

Sunday’s game is now set to provide the biggest home league crowd since Liverpool drew 0-0 with Leicester City in the old First Division back in April 1973, watched by 56,202 people. Today’s news follows a challenging period for the club in delivering the Anfield Road Stand.

Liverpool last month announced its hope that the upper tier of the expanded Anfield Road Stand would be partially open for the match against United. The project has been hit by delays after Buckingham Group Contracting, which had been leading the £80m (€92.9m/$100.2m) 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. In October, 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.

Paul Cuttill, vice-president of stadium operations, said today: “This is fantastic news and testament to the sheer hard work and commitment that all involved in this complex project have put in.

“We were forced to revise on construction schedules after Buckingham went into administration in September and thought we wouldn’t be able to open the upper tier until January.

“So to find ourselves ahead of that schedule is great, a real credit to all involved. The priority has always been to get fans into the upper tier safely and as soon as possible. We must thank all those fans who attended our test event on Monday evening to make this possible.

“Now we can’t wait to welcome those 57,000 fans to Anfield and see the new upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand come alive on matchday.”

However, when the 61,000-capacity figure is reached, the overall attendance record for a Liverpool match at Anfield will remain the 61,905 who witnessed the February 1952 FA Cup tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers.