Jurgen Klopp says the start of construction of Liverpool’s new £50 million training facility represents a "big statement" by the club as they continue forward momentum on and off the pitch.
Building work has begun to merge the first team and Academy on one site at Kirkby. The development will be complete in time for the start of the 2020-21 season, Liverpool’s senior squad leaving their current site at Melwood where the first team has trained for over 60 years.
Klopp took part in a ceremony at the building side as the constructors moved in, joking he was confident he will still be in charge at Liverpool when the switchover is complete.
“It's really a big statement of the club, of the owners,” said Klopp.
“I'm really happy that we start that because it's not normal in a situation when it's already quite OK because Melwood is a wonderful place. We love it - but bringing it together is the step in the future, which we are all convinced about.
“We need it. When I heard we will start in 2020, it's pretty rare that a manager can plan that far, but I'm quite optimistic that I'll be in when we start using the facility. I'm really looking forward to it.”
The Liverpool manager has often referred to Melwood as his ‘football HQ’. He extended the phrase to refer to the new site.
“This will be the headquarters of Scouse football, if you want,” he said.
“I think we are all desperate to get young Scousers through, because it's nice. It's a special club and if you are grown up in that area it already makes you a special person. That we have all these young players is thanks to Alex Inglethorpe (Academy Director) and his team. I know already a few of the U15, U16 players and they will have a big chance to go through.
“It's always a difficult path to go, but if we can make it a bit easier, a bit more likely, then we should try everything. This is the first step in that direction.”
The construction is an expansion of Liverpool’s current Academy complex, built in 1999, but a 20-minute drive from the first-team base. The club recognised the necessity to ensure all players work on the same site to identify a clearer pathway to the first team.
Liverpool will explore naming-rights options ahead of completion.
“Getting all our training facilities on one site is a critical step. This allows us to create world-class, state-of-the-art facilities,” said Andy Hughes, Liverpool’s chief operating officer.
“It is a big commitment and investment from the owners. If you want to be one of the top European clubs – and stay there – you have to continue to invest. Having the best training ground helps deliver success on the pitch.
“This is a critical component of a successful football club.”
This article was first seen on: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/09/20/liverpool-start-construction-50m-training-ground-replace-melwood/