Liverpool Liverpool are considering upgrading their stadium expansion plans to take the capacity at Anfield beyond 60,000 as a September deadline looms on an existing planning application.
The club has outline planning permission to add 4,000 seats to the Anfield Road end of their stadium, but that expires in four months. However, Liverpool are not tied to the current sketched proposals.
Owners Fenway Sports Group have been mulling over whether to push on with those plans or refine them. There are increasing indications they will go for the latter, enabling the time limit on the current planning application to elapse before starting afresh and submitting fresh designs.
FSG have been looking at all the options for the last few years, preparing further feasibility studies to determine the economic viability of a larger stadium, while also mindful of the consequences on the infrastructure and the surrounding area. That is a key consideration given traffic and public transport pressure on a match-day and has made previous planning applications a laborious process.
Liverpool CEO Peter Moore recently explained the clubs stance. If there is a smarter design option that does not fit with the current outline planning permission, then we would submit another planning application, he said.
Only once we have completed this comprehensive process and come to a conclusion will it be the right time to move forward.
It required years of public consultation and planning before Liverpool were finally able to build the new Main Stand. That has been in place for the last three seasons and has proven to be a huge success, adding 9,000 seats and increasing corporate as well as match-day revenue.
It was funded with a £100 million loan to the club by FSG, which is being repaid incrementally – helped by the exceptional team performance over the last two seasons which has already earned in excess of £300 million in prize funds following successive Champions League final appearances.
Liverpools owners were given a reminder of the potential of their club during their open-top bus victory parade on Sunday. It has not influenced their decision to investigate how to further expand – that has long been on the agenda so there are no knee-jerk reactions to those incredible scenes – but it reaffirmed how the demand for tickets far outweighs supply.
Even if Liverpool are given the green light to reconstruct more of Anfield, it could be two to three years before the work is complete.
The clubs immediate expansion priority is focused on a new training facility which is under construction in Kirkby at a cost of £50 million. That will be formally opened in 2020, Liverpool ceasing operations at Melwood at the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
That facility has been designed in consultation with Klopp, who has given the club further encouragement about his long-term ambitions by rebuffing the latest indirect approach from Bayern Munich.
I wish for nothing more than that one day he will come to Bayern, said Beckenbauer. For me he is one of the worlds best coaches. What he started in Dortmund, he has refined with Liverpool.
Although it was played down at the time, there is no doubt Bayern made approaches to Klopp last season prior to appointing Niko Kovac.
Then, as now, Klopp said it was not the right time to go back to Germany. He has been similarly respectful in his quotes responding to Beckenbauer, politely declining the possibility of leaving Liverpool at this point in his career and hinting it would be at least five years before he was back in his home country.
I likeFranz — and he likes me, Klopp told Bild. But I have a long-term contract at Liverpool. I would rather he said that than him saying and thinking that I cannot [be Bayern manager].
However, both Bayern and Borussia Dortmund have very good coaches. And what could be in five years or more, I do not know. Maybe there will be completely different coaches that qualify.
Klopps Liverpool contract runs until 2022. As Telegraph Sport reported on Monday, Liverpools owners would like him to remain in charge for as long as they run the club.
Meanwhile, Liverpool have confirmed the departure of Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno as their contracts expire this summer.
England striker Sturridge, 29, scored 67 goals in 160 appearances after joining from Chelsea in January 2013.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “The most important words to say to these two remarkable players are thank you.”
The Reds are keen to offer Klopp a new contract after winning the Champions League with a 2-0 victory over Tottenham in Madrid on Saturday.
The German said: “Alberto is a person whose personality is reflected in how he plays – full of life, full of energy, always positive. An unbelievable character who is always willing to give all of himself for the team.
“Daniel has earned the right to be considered a modern-day Liverpool great, I would think. He came to the club while we were trying to rebuild and re-establish ourselves. Some of the goals he has scored for Liverpool were so, so, so important.
“We will miss them of course, but we can say farewell with the best words possible: Guys, you leave as European champions.”
Both players leave Anfield having fallen out of favour during the 2018-19 season. Sturridge made 27 appearances in all competitions but 20 of those were as a substitute. Moreno made just four starts and one substitute appearance.
They were both part of the Liverpool team that was beaten in the 2016 EFL Cup and Europa League finals in Klopps first season in charge.
Sturridge began his career at Manchester City before joining Chelsea in 2009. He also spent six months on loan at Bolton during his time at Stamford Bridge before making the move to Anfield.
He scored 24 goals in his first full season at the club as Luis Suarezs strike partner as Liverpool challenged for the Premier League before ultimately finishing second to Manchester City.
After struggling for first-team football he spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom, although injury restricted him to just six appearances.
In November 2018 Sturridge was charged with misconduct by the Football Association over alleged breaches of betting rules in January of that year. The striker, who denies the charges, was given until February to provide written evidence but has yet to hear a verdict from the governing body.
Moreno, who has been capped four times by Spain, came through the youth ranks at Sevilla before moving to Anfield for around £12m. He was first-choice left-back left for two seasons but lost his place to James Milner and then Andy Robertson in recent seasons.