Liverpool will play HALF THE SEASON at reduced capacity with new Anfield Road stand still not ready – and there’s now no finish date for work that should have ended before kick-off
- The upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand will now remain closed until 2024
- Work to increase the ground’s capacity to 61,000 started in September 2021
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Liverpool will have to play the remainder of the year at reduced capacity after the club confirmed the upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand will remain closed until 2024.
Supporters have been left frustrated at the speed of Liverpool’s £80million stadium redevelopment and news that there will not be any reopening until 2024 will bring further disappointment. The capacity will stay capped at around 51,000.
Between now and the end of the calendar year Liverpool host Everton in a Merseyside derby, welcome Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Fulham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United.
Work started on the development of the stand in September 2021 with the aim of completion ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.
The club were previously hit with a set back to the development after it was announced that the new tier would not be open for the club’s first home match, against Bournemouth on August 19, and it will remain closed.
Liverpool’s Anfield Road stand redevelopment has been hit with further delays for completion
The upper tier in the Anfield Road End had been targeting a reopening before season opener
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‘When Buckingham Group filed for administration, that impacted people’s livelihoods, people’s jobs so I do want to make sure that we just remember that and mention it, and I do want to thank everybody who has worked on the project and all those that are currently working on the project,’ chief executive Billy Hogan said.
‘And I certainly want to thank all of our supporters for their patience and understanding while we navigate through the situation, which as I mentioned has been incredibly challenging over the last few months.’
He added: ‘Until we have visibility of all the information needed, we’re going to have to maintain the status quo for the remainder of the calendar year.
‘Essentially meaning capacity at Anfield will remain the same as for the previous home games that we’ve seen this season.
‘The lower tier of the stand remaining open and the upper tier remaining closed until the end of the calendar year.’
Back in August, Buckingham Group filed for administration and left Liverpool in limbo. A month later the Group entered administration.
Plans for the upper tier to reopen in time for the Merseyside Derby against Everton – Liverpool’s next match – have subsequently been shelved.
The Times report that fans who bought tickets in that area for the game will be contacted by the club.
Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan has addressed fans’ frustrations in an interview today
‘So, kind of going back, obviously when we got the news back in mid-August – August 17 – when Buckingham effectively said it was their intention to formally go into administration, we had about three weeks during that period where no work could happen on the site and where we effectively had to wait until they formally went into administration,’ Hogan said.
‘They went into administration on September 4. Essentially, during that kind of three-week period we were working in the background to try to address as many different issues as the possibility of an administration would raise.
‘And then once Buckingham did enter administration we quickly moved to appoint Rayner Rowen Construction as the new contractor, as well as a number of other sub-contractors, to resume the works as quickly as possible. That was on September 4, we actually started work and were able to get back on the site on September 5.
‘Essentially what that process has involved over the course of what’s now been about five weeks has been to fully assess where the construction programme was at the time, and then also allow Rayner Rowen to work with our internal teams and gather all of the relevant necessary information to make an informed decision around what would be a revised project completion programme.’
There has been no end date provided for the works, with capacity reduced for the foreseeable
Hogan continues that orders have been placed ‘from over 80 per cent of the remaining work needed to complete the stand’ with sub-contractors who had previously worked under the Buckingham Group.
Liverpool were actually granted special permission by the Premier League ahead of the start of the season to play their opener away from home in a bid to finish the project, which will increase the ground’s capacity to 61,000.
But that proved impossible given the change in contractor and now the timeline is on early 2024.
‘We want to try to be as transparent with the supporters about this project as possibl,’ Hogan continued.
‘Maybe to go back a bit, in July, at the time when we knew there was going to be an initial delay at the start of the season, the schedule we had worked to and the schedule we had been told was that ultimately the upper tier would be open in some capacity for the Everton game, which is ultimately why we went ahead with the ticket sales from the Everton match on. That was ultimately based on the information that we were provided at the time.
‘The reality is, we’re just really now beginning to get a clear understanding of what the reality of the delays are.’
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