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Liverpool confirm Anfield Road upper tier will not open this year

Liverpool have been dealt another setback in the redevelopment of the Anfield Road stand after it was announced the upper tier will not open until next year.

The £80m project to expand Anfield’s capacity to 61,000 has been beset by problems, with the scheduled opening for the first home game of the season delayed and then the main contractor, Buckingham Group, going into administration. The company employed more than 600 staff.

Buckingham’s replacement, Rayner Rowen Construction, started work on 5 September after a three-week pause in the build and Liverpool had hoped the Anfield Road stand would be completed by October. Tickets for the upper tier have been sold for the visit of Everton on Saturday week and for future matches. However, the upper tier will remain closed until 2024 and there is no revised date on when it will open. The latest delay has been caused by information about the project going missing as a result of the change in contractors and the need to give Rayner Rowen more time on-site to complete the project.

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Liverpool’s CEO, Billy Hogan, said: “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. And we know every match at Anfield is important and we know that it means so much to our supporters. It means ultimately we won’t be in a position to be able to provide seats for those fans who have purchased those tickets in the upper tier.”

Liverpool’s ticketing staff will be in contact with supporters affected by the delay in the coming days. The club has confirmed that fans will not lose their credit, which count towards eligibility for future purchases, from those tickets. Other big matches affected will be the visits of Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle in December.

Hogan said it would be premature for the club to give a new opening date at present: “Rayner Rowen 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.

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“I know how disappointing this news is. I want to ensure our supporters that everyone is working incredibly hard to bring the project to a successful completion. It is a huge and important project for Anfield, obviously we’re incredibly excited about having 61,000 at Anfield and so as soon as we have additional updates we will certainly share that with supporters.”