For Liverpool fans, the day has almost arrived where they can now take their places in the updated upper tier of the new Anfield Road stand, and they will get their first taste of the new construction when Manchester United visit on December 17.
Liverpool have had issues as they look to increase the capacity by 7000 to 61,000, as despite its planned £80 million cost, the opening has been delayed a few times now as the Buckingham Group fell into administration, and they had to do a deal with the Rayner Rowen Group to complete the works.
The club plan to partially open the upper tier for the game, but it is still subject to safety approval being granted, but as long as that comes through, it would remain open for the subsequent December games against West Ham United, Arsenal and Newcastle United.
A statement from the club announcing the decision for a partial opening, read.
“The upper tier of the new stand will be partially open for the upcoming fixture against Manchester United on 17 December, with several thousand general admission seats expected to be available to supporters. 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 week commencing 11 December. This latest development is earlier than previously expected, following Buckingham Group entering administration in September, and is testimony to the commitment and hard work of everybody connected with this complex and ambitious build project. There is still more work to be completed before the stand can be fully operational and able to welcome 61,000 fans to Anfield on a matchday.”
The original stadium upgrade had been planned to be completed ahead of the start of the current 2023/24 campaign, but given all the associated delays, only the lower tier of the stand has been open for supporter use during the campaign and the ground’s capacity has been reduced and limited to only 50,000, so whilst it is only a next step for their ambitious build, it will be one the fans welcome as the stadium atmosphere returns to a bit more normality.
The public test event so they can obtain the relevant licence should only really be a formality to guarantee use for their scheduled December fixtures. It aims simply to test the building, systems and management plans using the welfare facilities, testing entry and exit procedures as well as fire alarm evacuation.
Ticket sales for the new seats will prioritise those fans who previously had tickets cancelled for these fixtures.