Liverpool Football Club first team manager Jürgen Klopp helped celebrate the start of work on a new Kirkby training campus.
A ‘breaking ground’ ceremony was held yesterday (20 September) at the club’s existing academy site, which is being redeveloped to provide a state-of-the-art facility for both the Reds’ first team and youth operations.
Due to be completed in its entirety by spring 2020, the 9,200 sq m complex will bring all of the club’s squads together at a combined training facility for the first time in its history.
Representatives of building contractor McLoughlin & Harvey were also on hand to mark the occasion, alongside Liverpool FC’s academy director Alex Inglethorpe, the club’s chief operating officer Andy Hughes, Knowsley Council chief executive Mike Harden and the local authority’s leader, Councillor Graham Morgan.
During the event, Andy Hughes said: “Today marks another significant milestone in the club’s history.
“This development will not only provide first-class amenities for our players and staff – in which a clear pathway through to the first team will be created – but it will vastly improve sports facilities for the community of Kirkby.
“We’re extremely pleased to be investing in the Knowsley area and look forward to building relationships with our neighbours as the project progresses.”
Features of the campus will include an elite performance centre for the first team, a training area for development squads, new pitches, two gyms, a full-size sports hall, pool, hydrotherapy complex and specialist sports rehabilitation suites. There will also be TV studios, press conference facilities and office accommodation.
Knowsley Council’s Eddie McArdle community playing fields, which neighbour the academy site, are also being redeveloped as part of the project, with upgraded football pitches, new changing rooms and facilities, enhanced security and lighting lined up alongside a new pedestrian and cycle pathway.
Cllr Morgan added: “I am delighted to see work beginning on this exciting project.
“The club’s investment into its training complex in Knowsley will not only provide world-class facilities but will bring great benefits for our community in Kirkby.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with LFC with the aim of creating a sporting hub that will enable the development of more grassroots football and hopefully inspire the next generation of players.
“This is a project we are very proud to be involved in and very much look forward to seeing this development progress in the coming months.”
Building work on the community playing fields is scheduled for complete later this year and, following a period for the grass to establish, the new pitches will be ready for use around August 2019.
Liverpool FC’s first team is expected to relocate to Kirkby from its current Melwood base during the close season in 2020.