Liverpool FC held a special 'breaking ground' ceremony at the club's Academy in Kirkby today to mark the beginning of work on its new training campus.
Reds manager Jürgen Klopp, Academy director Alex Inglethorpe and LFC's chief operating officer, Andy Hughes, joined club staff, the leader and chief executive of Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and representatives from building contractors McLaughlin & Harvey to celebrate the start of a new chapter for the club.
The state-of-the-art redevelopment of the existing Academy site will see the first team and youth football operations come together at a combined training facility for the first time in Liverpool's history.
"Today marks another significant milestone in the club's history," said Hughes.
"This development will not only provide first-class amenities for our players and staff - in which a clear pathway through to the first team will be created - but it will vastly improve sports facilities for the community of Kirkby.
"We're extremely pleased to be investing in the Knowsley area and look forward to building relationships with our neighbours as the project progresses."
The new 9,200sqm training complex will provide an elite performance centre for the first team and a state-of-the-art training area for the club's development squads, alongside new pitches, 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.
Knowsley Council's Eddie McArdle community playing fields, which neighbour the Academy site, are also being redeveloped as part of the ambitious project. Improvements will include upgraded football pitches, new changing rooms and facilities, enhanced security and lighting as well as a new pedestrian and cycle pathway.
Cllr Graham Morgan, leader of Knowsley Council, said: "I am delighted to see work beginning on this exciting project.
"The club's investment into its training complex in Knowsley will not only provide world-class facilities but will bring great benefits for our community in Kirkby.
"We are pleased to be working in partnership with LFC with the aim of creating a sporting hub that will enable the development of more grassroots football and hopefully inspire the next generation of players.
"This is a project we are very proud to be involved in and very much look forward to seeing this development progress in the coming months."
Building work on the community playing fields will be completed later this year and, following a period for the grass to establish, the new pitches will be ready for use around August 2019.
The entire project is expected to be completed in spring 2020, with the first team moving across from Melwood during the close season.