First look inside LFC’s new £50m Kirkby training base

Liverpool FC has released new images of how its £50 million training base in Kirkby will look.

The club has also given an update on the future of its current West Derby first team base.

LFC has confirmed that it will proceed with the redevelopment of its academy site in Kirkby and the neighbouring Eddie McArdle community playing fields.

The scheme will see the Reds’ first team and academy football training operations and facilities come together on one site in a new training campus.

The club says the redevelopment will provide world-class training facilities, including an elite performance centre for the first team and state-of-the-art training centre for its development squad teams.

The new 9,200 sqm training centre on LFC’s academy site creates a combined first team and under-23’s academy facility, along with new first-team pitches and parking within the site.

The facilities will incorporate two gyms, a full-size sports hall, pool, hydrotherapy complex and specialist sports rehabilitation suites. There will also be dedicated TV studios, press conference facilities and office accommodation.

CGI impression of the first-team changing room

The project also includes the redevelopment of Knowsley Council’s Eddie McArdle community playing fields at Simonswood Lane.

Improvements include five upgraded football pitches, new changing rooms and associated facilities including car parking for 110 vehicles, a new pedestrian and cycle pathway, lighting and improved security.

The club has appointed building and civil engineering contractors, McLaughlin & Harvey, to deliver the project.

CGI impression of the atrium reception

Meanwhile, the club has also started the sales process for its existing first-team training ground in West Derby.

Outline planning consent has been obtained for Melwood, which could provide up to 160 family homes in the area.

Andy Hughes, chief operating officer at LFC, says: “Today (17 July) represents a significant milestone in the club’s history. We would like to thank Knowsley Council and local residents for their time and support throughout the planning stages of this project.

“Our aspiration to create a clear pathway for our young players through to the first team is an ambitious project. The site in Kirkby provides the ideal location for the new home of our elite performance centre and state-of-the-art training facility.

“The commitment to deliver this exciting project further demonstrates the continued investment by our owners and reinforces the identity of LFC as one of the top football clubs in Europe.”

Work is expected to start on the council’s community pitches in late July, with construction starting on LFC’s academy site in early October.

The project is expected to be completed in 2020.


Ramos the thug

Sergio Ramos has always been an outright thug; a tramp of a footballer and one who ought not to befit the shirt of such an august football club with the wonderful history of Real Madrid.

It remains to be seen if anything comes of the half-a-million strong petition sent to Uefa, for what the man did to Mo Salah, but I for one won’t be holding my breath.

Ramos knew – and Madrid knew – what Salah meant to Liverpool, but I doubt if anyone, even somebody as worldly as Jurgen Klopp, could believe that a football player could actually seek to wipe out a fellow professional so cynically from a game.

But still, it doesn’t end there. The nightmare performance of Liverpool’s ‘keeper Loris Karius left most of us so totally perplexed that it was impossible to come up with a rational explanation for the moments surrounding the first goal.

Watching any number of replays could not determine what went through the keeper’s mind. In fact, it was impossible to make sense of it. The ‘keeper couldn’t have failed to see Benzema when he rolled the ball out; he just couldn’t. In fact all along my own conviction has been that something was amiss.

Many moons ago, when I was in my earliest teenage years, I ended up in a fight at the dining hall table and was on the receiving end of a direct punch from an older pupil which landed on my upper lip between nose and mouth.

I didn’t pass out or go down unconscious and in fact I continued my meal and lunchtime play. None of my pals noticed any radical change in behaviour; I was seemingly fine, but unquestionably not. In fact it was only half way though the afternoon lessons that I noticed myself emerging from some kind of comatose condition. For at least two hours I’d been concussed.

Putting this into the context of Karius, who’d been routinely elbowed in the face by Ramos only minutes before the bizarre goal, some kind of explanation begins to emerge.

The man was seemingly semi-conscious, in the same way as I was all those years earlier. Now the tests from America are revealing the reality. Throughout the second half, Loris Karius was concussed; he was playing one of the biggest games of his life in a complete haze and with a degree of double vision.

Wouldn’t we all like Uefa to revisit this situation? We know they won’t, because as Howard Webb admitted in his autobiography, the referee is virtually instructed beforehand to avoid red cards. The Champions League and World Cup finals are the centre piece of the season and the last thing the authorities want is to see these occasions remembered primarily for the foul play. That said, I’m sure they have it in their power to withhold Ramos his winner’s medal. Now that would be something!

If you believe in fate, in next year’s CL, what price the Reds being drawn in the same pot as Real Madrid?

The mind boggles at Sergio Ramos playing in front of the Kop.

Mike Hopper