Liverpool have announced that the new upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand will not be completed this year.
The update provided by Reds CEO billy Hogan arrives just nine days ahead of the Merseyside derby at Anfield, which had been pencilled in as the target date to re-open the stadium at full capacity.
However, the redevelopment project, which was originally supposed to be finished for the start of the 2023/24 season, has been hit by severe delays after original contractor, the Buckingham Group, filed for administration back in August.
Announcing the 'frustrating' news, Hogan said, via Liverpoolfc.com: “So, at this point, as everyone knows, what we have effectively been operating with is the lower stand being open over the course of the early part of the season, which is allowing Rayner Rowen to continue the analysis of the project.
“However, what I would say is over the course of the last few days it has become clear that in order to complete a thorough assessment of that project completion timeline, it’s going to take longer than really we first thought. Ultimately, what that means for supporters is that 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.”
Hogan added: “We are really disappointed to have to deliver this news and really sorry for all those supporters who are impacted. You can see the games coming up on the fixture list, not just the derby but as you run through it to the end of the calendar year.
“This is a really complex and deeply frustrating situation. We’re all really disappointed to have to deliver this news, we know the impact of this news on many supporters.
“But our team here and the consultants, as well as Rayner Rowen, are working incredibly hard to ensure that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to progress the project as quickly as possible.”
When will the Anfield Road Stand be re-opened?
On when the stand would finally be fully re-opened, Hogan refused to commit to a specific target date.
He said: “Rayner Rowen [the new contractors] really needs the time to complete the information gathering before we commit to any new project timeline.
“There’s a lot of different, various factors that are going into this discussion and into this review, so many pieces of the jigsaw that we need to pull together so it’s just not possible at this point to put a new timeline in place. And, frankly, we don’t want to set the wrong expectation.
“So, we are continuing to work closely with all of those different stakeholders but ultimately we need to give them the time to gather all that information and come up with what is a realistic project completion programme. And we are certainly committed to keeping supporters up to date as much as we possibly can.”
How could the news impact Liverpool financially?
Speaking on the Price of Football Podcast, Liverpool University’s Kieran Maguire previously estimated that the club would lose around £750,000 per match with the upper tier of Anfield Road closed and the ground at reduced capacity.
If those calculations are accurate, it means that Liverpool will lose out on at least £10.5m in matchday revenue from the six games already played at a reduced capacity and the nine still to come before the end of 2023. That number will obviously rise the longer into the new year the ground remains at limited capacity.
For home games so far in 2023/24, Liverpool have seen attendance figures of around 50,000.
However, once the expansion project is finally complete, it will take Anfield's overall capacity to 61,000, making it one of the biggest stadiums in the Premier League.