By Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool have asked for next season’s opening match to be played away from home to allow preparations to be completed on their new Anfield Road stand.
Work, which began in September 2021, is on course to be finished this summer on the £80million redevelopment and will add around 7,000 extra seats, taking the ground’s overall capacity to more than 61,000.
However, with test events and potential additional work required on the pitch as a result of the building work – which will see the roof of the existing stand removed at the end of the season – Liverpool are looking to buy themselves more time to ensure everything is ready to open on the second weekend of the new campaign.
The club made a similar request to the Premier League when they completed the new Main Stand in 2016, which followed the same process of erecting the new building behind the existing one so the ground’s capacity was not affected during the season.
“We are on track and on budget,” vice-president of stadium operations Paul Cuttill said. “The progress has gone really well and we’re due to complete by the end of July, with a view to being ready for the first home game of the 2023-24 season.
“It’s not been confirmed yet but we’ve asked for the first game to be away, which will mean the first home game is August 19 or 20.
“It just means we have the best possible chance to make sure the stadium is ready, that we have had test events which are licensed and good to go.
“There is an element of pitch work, to make sure it has recovered from the roof being removed and the work which takes place on the pitch during the close season.”