A Guide to Liverpool’s New £50m Training Complex

In the summer of 2020, Liverpool will move
in to their stunning new £50 million training complex. Inside the state-of-the-art facility in Kirkby,
eight miles from Liverpool city centre, the attention to detail is typical of Jurgen Klopp,
the head coach who has restored the club to the pinnacle of European football and put
them on the brink of a first league title for 30 years. Klopp was at the heart of the discussions
with London-based architects KSS after the decision was taken in 2017 to leave their
historic Melwood base and his vision for the future has been backed to the hilt by owners
Fenway Sports Group. “Our long-term approach to investing and
growing this club is as important off the pitch as it is on it,” chairman Tom Werner
told The Athletic. “There has always been an aspiration to
build a world-class training facility that becomes an elite performance centre where
young players have a clear pathway to the first team. Helped by a relatively mild winter, the work
being carried out by contractors McLaughlin and Harvey is on track, with Klopp’s players
set to walk through the doors for the first time when pre-season training starts in early
July. They will be greeted by artwork celebrating
legendary Liverpool figures and a mosaic of a packed Kop emblazoned with the words ‘You’ll
Never Walk Alone’. The new 9,200 sq m training complex will house
both the first-team and the under-23 squads, with the younger age groups remaining on the
other side of the site which was initially opened in 1998. The building includes two gyms, a large indoor
sports hall, swimming pool, an extensive hydrotherapy complex, specialist sports rehabilitation
and medical suites as well as relaxation and dining areas. There are also dedicated TV studios, press
conference facilities and an array of offices with balconies overlooking the pitches. It has been designed, at Klopp’s request,
so the youngsters in the development squad don’t automatically have access to the designated
first-team areas. The manager wants them to have to earn the
right to be allowed into that side of the building. That is the next step they have to take through
hard graft. Sporting director Michael Edwards, academy
director Alex Inglethorpe and Lijnders also had a considerable amount of input in the
design, along with senior players including captain Jordan Henderson and vice-captain
James Milner. Liverpool went on a fact-finding mission to
a number of European clubs to assess their facilities, including Red Bull Salzburg’s
acclaimed training complex. The huge first-team gym in Kirkby has been
designed so it’s bathed in natural light with the glass front providing panoramic views
of the training pitches, providing a source of motivation for those on the comeback trail
after injury. Klopp has also ensured that bases for nutrition
and sports psychology are embedded in the middle of the building rather than being on
the fringes. It reflects how highly he regards the importance
of those departments and their location in the new set-up reaffirms that message to his
players. Mona Nemmer has been the club’s head of
nutrition since she joined from Bayern Munich in 2016 and is a popular figure with the players. Klopp brought sports psychologist Lee Richardson
on board last summer and he’s been based at Melwood for three days a week this season. The former Watford, Blackburn Rovers and Aberdeen
midfielder was recruited from Hull City by Liverpool’s medical rehabilitation and performance
manager Phil Jacobsen. Klopp has always viewed the amalgamation of
the club’s two training bases as key to his long-term vision. The six-mile gap between Melwood and Kirkby
has been a source of frustration for him since he took over in October 2015. The German coach has a strong relationship
with academy director Inglethorpe. However, Klopp wants to be closer to the 170
academy youngsters who are looking to make the grade and the staff working to help them. When there’s a gap in his schedule, he wants
to be able to take a short walk to watch one of the youth teams in action. He also wants those kids to be inspired by
the sight of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk and co working nearby. Vitor Matos, the elite development coach,
is currently the key link between Melwood and Kirkby. He is responsible for the movement of players
between the sites depending on what numbers are required for first-team sessions. Logistically, this will be a great deal easier
come July. “It’s very exciting,” said Inglethorpe,
who has had the perfect view of the building taking shape from his office window. “The under-23s will be based there and it
will be an aspirational vision for all the young players. Having the first-team staff so close will
be really helpful for us. It’s been very cleverly thought through
and designed.” Melwood has been home for Liverpool since
the 1950s and leaving their iconic base this summer hasn’t been without controversy. The land was sold for around £10 million
last August to affordable-housing provider Torus, with planning permission secured to
build 160 homes. That was a disappointment to the local residents
and councillors behind the ‘Save Melwood’ campaign, who had wanted the facilities to
be kept open for community use. Instead the bulldozers will move in. Liverpool’s chief operating officer Andy
Hughes insists the club will leave “with a heavy heart” but says that “all funds
from the sale of the Melwood site will be reinvested back into the first-team squad
and the state-of-the-art training centre at the new Kirkby site”. Whereas Anfield’s new Main Stand, which
was opened in 2016, was financed by a £110 million loan taken out by FSG in America,
the money for the training ground has come from Liverpool’s own credit facility – a
sign of much greater financial health. Financial accounts for last season are due
to be published before the end of February with record revenues expected on the back
of the club’s lucrative Champions League triumph. Werner has previously pointed to the success
of Liverpool’s commercial team under Billy Hogan as key to being able to improve the
club’s infrastructure. Liverpool are also open to the idea of agreeing
a naming rights deal for the new training complex, similar to the one Manchester United
have with insurance company Aon. However, Anfield officials are keen to stress
it would need to be the right partner and that no agreement is currently close. Klopp has long since felt constrained by a
lack of space at Melwood. There is a shortage of meeting rooms and offices,
while the indoor training facility is small and dated. Another attraction for Klopp in moving to
Kirkby is how secluded it is. That should help prevent team information
from leaking out. Currently, fans desperate to catch a glimpse
of their heroes use bins, cars or ladders to look over the walls of Melwood and watch
training, although the use of a privacy curtain around the main pitch has enabled Klopp to
keep his matchday plans under wraps to a greater degree. Liverpool bought 14 acres of land from Knowsley
Metropolitan Borough Council for £160,000 in February 2018 in order to boost the size
of the academy site in Kirkby to 60 acres. Construction work started seven months later. As part of the deal, the club has made a significant
investment in improving sports facilities for the local community by redeveloping the
Eddie McArdle football pitches and building new changing rooms. Klopp was initially concerned about how exposed
the academy is to the elements and in particular how the wind – something he describes as
“the biggest enemy of football” – would affect his training sessions. But Liverpool commissioned a study to help
solve that problem. The use of computer simulations helped them
to define exactly what work was required to provide maximum protection from the effects
of the wind. The project has included extensive landscaping
on the perimeters of the three pitches and the planting of dozens of trees to ensure
that Klopp’s men aren’t blown off course. Architects KSS specialise in major sports
venues and training facilities. As well as Anfield’s Main Stand, they previously
worked on Stamford Bridge, Twickenham, the No 1 Court at Wimbledon and Tottenham Hotspur’s
new stadium. They have also designed new training complexes
for Tottenham and Leicester City among others. The framework for the new building in Kirkby
was constructed using 2,000 pieces of steel weighing 520 tonnes and involved 144 timber
beams being lowered into place. KSS chairman David Keirle says: “Our designs
reflect the identity and ambition of Liverpool FC. They provide a clear, aspirational pathway
to the first team, whilst retaining the requirement for each player to earn the right to progress
to every level.” Saying goodbye to Melwood at the end of the
season will be laced with emotion. Bill Shankly transformed the place in the
1960s and Gerard Houllier brought it into the 21st century with the work he oversaw. However, Klopp has always been more interested
in the future than the past. Having penned a new contract until 2024, the
new training complex will be part of his legacy. Excelling on the field, Liverpool will have
surroundings in keeping with their lofty status and
their sparkling new Kirkby base is a home fit for the Premier League champions.

49 thoughts on “A Guide to Liverpool’s New £50m Training Complex

  1. Only 50£ million?
    Other clubs have spent way more on their academies.
    Liverpool should act accordingly because they won't always get lucky with good buys! 😓

  2. I've been a fan since umaxxxit football ( now tifo football) , back in those day there were only 5k subscribers… i will get very emotional when you reach 1 million subscribers one day.. keep producing great content 💪🏻

  3. Klopp to Liverpool is what Tifo football is to football lovers on Youtube. We're lucky to have Klopp guiding us through, and we're very fortunate to have Tifo producing high quality football content.

  4. oh god I feel like Jürgen has been with us forever already, he'll pass onto history as a legendary manager, god bless him

  5. Liverpool doing everything the right way! Now all that's needed is a new iconic logo like the Star of the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees logo.. so it could be recognised worldwide.

  6. Incredibly excited as a Liverpool fan. Spurs to some degree where moving in a similar direction…New stadium, a clear identity on the football they play and a manager who had a long term vision for the club. If down the line we have a shaky season I hope FSG see the bigger picture and they don't do to Klopp what Spurs did to Poch. Fantastic video as always Gents!

  7. Loved this video even tho it was word to word from Pearce’s article. But I miss the originality of Tifos old videos. They were so brilliant. Hope you guys do more original videos in the future as well

  8. Manchester United's AON Training Complex at Carrington was doing this long ago. Bin dippers always playing catch-up with us.

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