It is already the largest single-tier stand in the country, but can Liverpool expand the Kop?
We all know the level of support Liverpool has, both from the UK and overseas, so any extra seating would surely be filled right?
We look at the question in this blog and find out a bit more about the club’s plans for Anfield over the coming years.
So let’s dive in…
Can Liverpool Expand The Kop?
Expanding the Kop would be a hugely costly and complex procedure that would not be viable in terms of the financial rewards. However in recent years Liverpool has added 8,500 seats to its Main Stand and is currently redeveloping its Anfield Road End to accommodate a further 7,000 fans increasing Anfield’s capacity from 45,000 to around 61,000.
How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Kop?
Hypothetically the Kop could possibly be made higher to make room for extra seats.
But it isn’t going to happen, as the cost of expanding the stand would be huge.
The Kop is supported by cantilevers, in place to avoid the obstructions pillars would cause. So to expand it further would mean the stadium would need to be extensively remodelled.
On top of that, even if it was done, any extra seats would be a long way from the pitch, which means they would be sold at a lower price.
So essentially the numbers would be unlikely to stack up, with the costs involved in such a project outweighing the extra revenue it would generate.
There is also the problem that the Kop backs onto Walton Breck Road, a busy A road that could not be rerouted without massive expense, a lot of complication and a huge amount of cooperation from residents and businesses.
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In fact the club itself has confirmed the Kop will not increase in capacity when talking about the £80million redevelopment of the Anfield Road end of the stadium, with Liverpool Managing Director Andy Hughes saying:
“We’ve never had a conversation about doing anything else, you know the layout of the ground. It would be massively complicated.
“It’s never been part of our plans. You have to look at the footprint and where the stadium is.”
What Work is Currently Being Done to Anfield?
The club is currently half the way through a two-phase redevelopment project that will eventually see the capacity of Anfield increase by around 15,000 seats to 61,000.
Phase one of the project was the £110million expansion of the Main Stand, which added an extra 8,500 seats, and was completed in September 2016.
As part of this phase of the project the club began purchasing houses in the streets that back onto the Main Stand as early as 2000.
These houses were then knocked down to allow for the expansion of the stand.
The extra capacity created by the first phase of the redevelopment is said to have increased match-day revenue from £62million to £81million per season.
Phase two of the project is an £80million redevelopment of the Anfield Road End of the stadium which began in September 2021 and is expected to be completed for the start of the 2023/24 season.
It will add a further 7,000 seats to Anfield’s capacity, taking the total of the stadium to around 61,000.
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The existing lower tier of the stand is being retained and refurbished with an additional tier being constructed above it.
It is anticipated this will lift the match-day revenue figure to in excess of £90million per season.
As part of the redevelopment there will be a new fan zone, additional hospitality lounges and new foot and cycle routes put in place.
Upon completion of the works the only Premier League stadium significantly larger than Anfield will be Old Trafford (74,310 capacity).
Anfield will be fighting it out with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (62,850 capacity), the Emirates Stadium (60,704 capacity) and the London Stadium (60,000 capacity) for the title of the second biggest stadium in England’s top flight.
Will Anfield Be Expanded Further?
We’ve already talked about work done to the Main Stand and the Anfield Road Stand, and you know they have been expanded or are in the process of being expanded.
And before that, we talked about the Kop and the complexities of expanding that further, so we know that is out of the question.
That only leaves one stand we haven’t covered yet, the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand.
Behind this stand runs Skerries Road, which is lined with terraced housing, which means there is no room to expand this stand either.
But there are plans afoot to regenerate the Anfield area as a whole, something that was unveiled by Liverpool City Council in conjunction with Liverpool FC in 2016.
It was revealed a new pedestrian-friendly high street is in the pipeline “with the creation of new outdoor spaces and high-quality landscaping.”
These plans did appear to have stalled but it was announced at the end of 2021 that the regeneration of Anfield was restarting with a £6million investment.
Theoretically Liverpool could expand The Kop, but logistically and financially it would not be viable as mentioned in the infographic above.
The stand is already the biggest single-tier stand in the country and the club has recently completed the expansion of its Main Stand and is currently expanding its Anfield Road End.
When work is completed in 2023, the capacity of Anfield will have increased from 45,000 to around 61,000.
That means there will be little or no need to expand the Kop regardless of the possibilities of doing so.
It will also help to clear the season ticket waiting list for the club which stands at around 20,000 supporters and that is despite it being closed to new applications since 2011!