Liverpool’s plans to extend the capacity of Anfield beyond 60,000 will take another step forward this week, Goal can confirm.
More than 5,000 leaflets have been distributed by the club inviting local residents and business to a series of public consultation events, where the Reds will share their plans for an ambitious proposed redevelopment of the Anfield Road Stand.
Liverpool announced in August that they had scrapped initial plans for an upgrading of the Anfield Road End. Outline planning permission for the addition of around 4,000 extra seats was allowed to lapse with club owners, Fenway Sports Group, revealing its plan to explore alternative redevelopment options.
They are now in a position to share those alternative plans, and Goal understands that they will involve a redevelopment which takes Anfield’s capacity above 60,000.
There is already an acceptance at Liverpool that demand for tickets far outstrips supply, and the club’s on-field success in recent seasons has only highlighted that fact further.
That, coupled with the knowledge that their Premier League rivals – Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal – all boast larger stadiums, has led to a series of feasibility studies investigating the economic viability of a new, larger Anfield.
FSG have already displayed a willingness to expand the stadium. They spent £110 million ($142m) on building the new Main Stand, which opened in 2016 and took the capacity above 54,000.
Speaking in July, chairman Tom Werner said: "We are still analysing the opportunity to build on Anfield Road. We are trying to figure it out.
"When we went forward with the Main Stand expansion, which I'm very proud about, we obviously wanted to do it right so we were quiet about it. In a perfect world we will be able to figure this out.”
There is likely to be a mixed reaction to the news, with many local residents and businesses having expressed misgivings about the club’s plans in the past. A row over the use of Anfield for music concerts broke out in the summer, while others have voiced concern over issues such as traffic, noise and light. Some have accused the club of having failed to fix problems which have existed even before the expansion of the Main Stand.
Ian Byrne, who will be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for West Derby in the forthcoming General Election, has campaigned for a new train link to Anfield, which would help alleviate traffic issues around the stadium on matchdays. At present, the nearest rail station is at Sandhills, one-and-a-half miles away.
"I think giving people the facility to get straight to a match and leave their cars at home would be transformational," Byrne told the Liverpool Echo in September. "It would be fundamental for the area and could cut down on the traffic and pollution issues, particularly when the stadium expands.
"Residents are absolutely right to ask the city and the club, if the stadium does extend, what are the transport plans?"
The first consultation event will take place at the Kop Bar in Anfield on Friday November 29 (4pm-8pm), with two more to follow on Monday December 2 (4pm-8pm) and Tuesday December 3 (12pm-4pm).
Additionally, there will be a pop-up information stand available at Anfield for the Premier League games with Brighton on Saturday November 30 (12pm-3pm), and Everton on Wednesday December 4 (5pm-8pm).
Liverpool also say they will set up on online hub, which will enable supporters to view the new proposals and submit feedback via an online form.