Jurgen Klopp’s vision is about to take shape in front of our very eyes as Liverpool are set to transform the Kirkby Academy into a state-of-the-art training complex. The set up will mean that both the first team and youth team set-ups will all be in the same location.
Klopp has been a massive driving force behind the decision to amalgamate the club’s two training facilities. FSG understand and share Klopp’s vision and have now showed that commitment by backing the ambitious £50million project.
Melwood is six miles away from the youth academy in Kirby, and even though Jurgen Klopp shares a strong relationship with academy director Alex Inglethorpe, the distance and separation is an obvious issue. He wants everyone – from the under-nines through to the first-team – together at one training complex.
Liverpool FC plans to relocate its first team training facilities from its historical home at Melwood, intending to purchase 14 acres of land at Simonswood Playing Fields at the rear of the Academy in order to expand the size of the current site in Kirkby to around 60 acres.
A planning application will be submitted to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council within the next few months and if it gets the green light then the redevelopment of Kirkby will start in early 2018.
Work would be completed by the summer of 2019 with Liverpool’s first-team squad making the switch to Kirkby for pre-season training ahead of the 2019/20 season.
Expanding Melwood simply wasn’t feasible due to a lack of space. Liverpool considered other possible sites but redeveloping Kirkby emerged as the preferred option. The existing Academy buildings at Kirkby are set to remain and be refurbished with the first-team training centre built nearby. The facilities will include a new covered artificial pitch, a pool and hydrotherapy complex, gymnasium and specialist sports rehabilitation suites.
As part of the scheme Liverpool will upgrade the remaining community football pitches nearby and build new changing facilities and a car park. The surrounding area will also get a facelift with new walking and cycling paths created.