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

A fair deal

All we asked for was a fair deal. We didn’t get one.

To put things in perspective, we missed two sitters early on, the first by Mo Salah which left us all open-mouthed and in a stunned state of shock. Minutes later, Trent got his legs in a tangle when he was clean through.

But that apart, the decision-making of Referee Marriner was more applicable to an oval ball game played at Twickenham. With English rugby in such a parlous state at present, coach Eddie Jones should seriously consider Eric Peiters in particular. The Stoke left back spent the whole game grappling illegally, mostly with Mo Salah, but even as late as the final few seconds when he hauled back Bobby Firmino in the area.

An offside decision is supposedly negated when the ball is last played by a defender, except when it’s a deflection. Against Spurs, the two officials deemed Lovren’s contact the latter and allowed Kane to continue on and gain a penalty. Here Wijnaldum’s goalbound shot was blocked solidly before rebounded to Ings who shot home. It was a solid block, an intentional contact; not a deflection.

Soon after Stoke almost scored when Diouf all but took the proverbial lace out of the ball with an outstretched arm in midfield, the handball completely wrong-footing the Reds’ defence.

Against Roma, Milner was penalised in the area when the ball struck his arm which was in front of his body. Late on, Pieters stuck out his arm like a policeman on point duty and prevented two Liverpool players from tapping home. No penalty; no sending off.

And so it went on. Liverpool’s patched up side weren’t exactly dynamic, but they still did ample enough to win against a Stoke side who, Shaqiri apart, were so clumsy and cumbersome that they confused Liverpool with the ball regularly coming off shin, ankle and knee and bouncing anywhere. To compensate for their ineptitude, they simply bundled and body checked. Boy, I do hope they go down!

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this sort of performance at Anfield from referee Marriner; it’s happened before. To me his easy going style prevents him from coming down properly on over-physical teams. Having ironically acclaimed him for his excellent performance against City in the 4-3 when both sides simply wanted to get the ball down and play, here, with Stoke capable only of persistent foul play, he resorted to type.

At the end, Klopp shook the hands of the two linesmen but, significantly, missed out the referee. Then, with virtually the whole stadium venting its disapproval at the main official, it was almost like the man was puffing out his chest as he left the field, revelling in the glow such excessive attention was providing him with.

At present, the standard of refereeing overall in the EPL is appalling. Is it any wonder there is no English representative at Kiev?

All Liverpool asked for was a fair deal. They didn’t get one.

Mike Hopper

In Rome, we always win in Rome…

The sequence of goals can make a whole lot of difference to the way we
feel at the final whistle. A late equaliser can seem like both a
winner and a loser depending on which side you’re supporting.

In the first semifinal against Roma, had the Reds come from two goals
down to win 5-2, we’d have all been feeling on cloud-nine. As it was,
having all but booked our final place at 5-0, the loss of two late
goals was an undoubted dampener. Liverpool, as only they can, managed
to give the Italians a lifeline. It’s almost like the Liverpool way –
never make things straightforward!

What it meant was that fans were walking down Arkles Lane shaking
their heads instead of skipping gleefully over the puddles.

It didn’t seem fair in many respects, not least with the chances that
went begging, but Lovren’s mistake let in Dzeko in 81 minutes, before
a poor refereeing decision, five minutes later, saw visitors score a
second from a penalty.

Euphoria is an understatement with regards to Champions League nights
at Anfield. For the most part, on this occasion, the atmosphere was as
raucous and strident as we’ve all come to expect. One pundit on BT
called it the ‘bear-pit’. I kinda liked that!

The press certainly seemed as one about the energy and the passion,
though not sure how many journos were experiencing such a night for
the first time.

What was not in doubt against Roma was the quality of Liverpool’s
game. It was scintillating and the scribes were unanimous that Klopp’s
warriors were devastating.

This season, the regular fans have been spoilt and that, in itself,
can produce its own problems. There is always the danger that the
expectancy level is too high. Footballers are not robots, not least at
this stage of the season when a club like Liverpool is playing massive
fixtures every three and four days.

There are football supporters everywhere – not just ones of Reds’
persuasion – who would pay a tout’s ransom to watch Mo Salah simply to
be able to say they’d seen the guy just the once. Similar sentiments
applied to Luis Suarez. As for us regulars, blasé though we may have
become, we still manage to get gobsmacked when the Egyptian King
performs like he did on Tuesday night.

But for all that, the team effort is there to behold. Sometimes it
takes a video play-back hours later to discover who played a crucial
pass in the build-up. Mo has a definite telepathy with Bobby and Sadio
Mane, also Oxlane, which makes that lad’s injury all the more painful.
Trent too, sends some audacious balls into the narrow channel down the
right wing.

And so we head for Rome with two dangerous away goals to be confronted
and I don’t doubt the Italians will be a different proposition on
their own patch. However, it’s hard to look objectively and not
believe Klopp’s team won’t score at least once.

If in doubt, fall back on the decades-old song:

“In Rome, we always win in Rome!”

Mike Hopper

Dublin Pre-Sale Information

Dear Supporters Club,

For the 2018 Pre-Season Tour our Official LFC Supporters Clubs receive priority access to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Dublin Pre-Sale Information:

Liverpool FC vs SCC Napoli – Saturday 4th August 2018

The Dublin Pre-Sale will commence today at 10am BST (please note this was previously listed as a 10.30am BST start time but has since been brought forward).

To access the pre-sale Supporters Clubs & their Branch Members will need to enter the following pre-sale code during the booking process: LFCSUP

In order to keep the pre-sale as exclusive as possible please ensure that the Supporters Club pre-sale code & ticket link/URL is shared with Members as privately as possible and not posted on social media.

Ticket prices range from €10 for Kids, and €40 for adults and €125 for a Family Package (which includes two adults and two children)

The Liverpool Supporter Sections are: Blocks 112 to 117 and 512 to 518
Please Note: All tickets in Liverpool FC section are Category B  and priced at 60 Euros

To access the pre-sale visit: https://www.ticketmaster.ie/lfcsupportersclub

Online Ticket Limit: 7 per booking

GROUP BOOKINGS:

For those Branches wishing to make a bulk/group booking of 8 or more tickets please go to the File Store and download the ‘Dublin 2018 Group Booking Form’ and return the completed form to E:group.sales@ticketmaster.ie

GENERAL SALE:

The general sale will commence on Friday 27th April 2018 at 11am BST

Should you have any questions please raise these using the LFC Contact tab on the OLSC Extranet and select Pre Season Tour 2018 as the enquiry subject.

YNWA

Warm Up World Cup Match to be Played at Anfield

Liverpool FC have confirmed ticket details for the international friendly between Brazil and Croatia at Anfield.

The match will be played at 3pm BST on Sunday June 3rd.

*The entire stadium will be ticketed and prices are varied depending on seat location.

*Adults – £30 – £55

*Over 65s – £23 – £41

*Young adults (aged 17-21) – £15 – £28

*Juniors (aged 16 and under) – £10

(Junior tickets must be purchased with adult, over 65 or young adult tickets. Tickets are available to purchase at a ratio of 3:1 and will be available in the advertised family areas.)

http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/tickets/298191-ticket-details-anfield-brazil-croatia

Reds confirm pre-season fixtures in USA

Liverpool FC has today confirmed it will be heading to the USA to take part in the International Champions Cup (ICC) as part of its pre-season preparations.

Reds supporters will flock to Michigan, Charlotte and New Jersey in order to see Jurgen Klopp’s men fight it out with some familiar opponents when they play three games in America this July.

 Liverpool’s ICC fixtures are as follows:

July 22: Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund – Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina.

July 25: Liverpool v Manchester City – MetLife Stadium, New Jersey.

July 28: Liverpool v Manchester United – Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbour, Michigan.

Billy Hogan, Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer, Liverpool FC said: “Our pre-season tour is always a great opportunity for us to visit our supporters around the world – we’re really looking forward to visiting America this year and to compete in this fantastic tournament against some great teams.

“We’ll be bringing a bit of Merseyside to the USA and facing some outstanding opposition – we’re all looking forward to seeing our US fans and hearing the crowd in full voice.”

The Reds last took part in the ICC back in 2016 when they faced Chelsea and AC Milan in California and FC Barcelona at Wembley.

Daniel Sillman, CEO of ICC and RELEVENT, said: “Interest and fandom for European soccer in the United States and Asia is at an all-time high. Record numbers of new kids from every region and community are finding a passion for the game, the mythical teams and compelling personalities.

“The International Champions Cup and RELEVENT are incredibly excited about giving fans another amazing tournament. In addition to hosting legendary clubs in great cities and creating the European football experience, we are committed to finding new and innovative ways to bring the teams, players and fans together.

“Last week’s announcement of the first-ever women’s tournament was met with an overwhelming response, underscoring the passion for European soccer and our mission.”

For more information about the International Champions Cup, please visit www.internationalchampionscup.com

Winning at less that full throttle

If anyone were to ask what was the most significant scoreline of the
weekend, I’d suggest it was Man City’s demolition job of Spurs at
Wembley. After all, Guardiola’s now official champions had only just
been turned over deservedly and definitively by two superb Liverpool
performances – not forgetting the early Premier League thrashing at
Anfield.

We all know that football matches are not won on paper, but
nevertheless, the question must be asked, on that basis, how good this
Liverpool side really is.

Yesterday, from the start, they were half-a-yard short of their best,
almost certainly as a result of their exertions over the previous ten
days. Chances came and went and the sense was that sharpness was not
at its most absolute.

Yet still, the Reds were good enough to turn over a spirited and well
organised Bournemouth side which played a back-five throughout.
Certainly, the impact was that neither of our fullbacks was able to
make any impact down the flanks. Trent’s sublime 40-yard pass for Mo’s
header came from 40 yards back and during the whole 90 minutes rarely
did he manage to overlap. Salah himself did find several openings, but
rarely got his timing spot-on.

Although our strikers got the goals, it was the midfield trio of Hendo
(who missed the Etihad), Alex OxC and Winjaldum who provided the
energy. The skipper, in particular, is quite magnificent in the way he
does all the dirty work and is always there to mop-up and be available
to assist under-pressure team-mates. His stamina resources have to be
seen to be believed and it never ceases to amaze me that there are
those who see fit to criticise him. For certain, Liverpool are a
stronger and more complete side with him in it.

A full week’s rest now before West Brom, (a clash suddenly providing a
different  complexion after Old Trafford yesterday) and then another
surfeit of three fixtures inside a single week. It’s tough going, but
aren’t we all so excited that every match counts for something at the
moment?

I wonder what it’s like being a Bluenose right now?

By Mike Hopper