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Anfield reduced capacity concern: Authorities warn Liverpool

Liverpool have been warned by local authorities that persistent standing in Anfield’s newly-opened Anfield Road stand could lead to the end having to operate at a reduced capacity.

While there are safe standing areas in the lower tier of the Anfield Road end, and on the Kop, the new areas are not designed for supporters to stand and authorities are concerned that persistent standing is affecting the safety of supporters.

A photo of the new Anfield Road expansion.
Liverpool's newly-improved Anfield Road stand, which recently opened at partial capacity. Photo by Icon Sport

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, a small number of supporters were ejected from the stadium in Liverpool’s last home game against Arsenal “inexcusable abuse” directed at stewards who were attempting to limit the number of supporters standing.

Fans who have bought tickets for Monday night’s Premier League clash against Newcastle United have been contacted by the club in an effort to address the issue and avoid any sort of intervention from the authorities.

Flyers will also be placed on seats in the upper tier as a reminder to supporters once they arrive at the stadium.

How will this affect Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures?

It is not yet clear how this will affect supporters who are planning to buy tickets for the Reds’ upcoming fixtures.

Tickets for next Sunday’s FA Cup fixture against Arsenal are due to go on sale the morning after the Newcastle match – likely before the authorities have had time to assess whether persistent standing continued during Monday night’s game.

The sale for Liverpool’s next home game, the following Wednesday’s league match against Fulham, is also due to take place on this coming Tuesday.

The club will be keen to avoid a situation where they have to ask supporters to return tickets, as was the case in October’s Merseyside derby, when plans to open the new stand were scrapped after tickets had been sold to supporters.

Is persistent standing unique to Liverpool’s new Anfield Road end? 

Anyone who has been to Anfield will be able to tell you that standing in seated areas is commonplace around the stadium, particularly on the Kop. It is unclear why authorities appear to be particularly concerned about standing in the stadium’s newly-opened section.

Persistent standing is, of course, also an issue at other Premier League grounds. Before Burnley’s first game of the season against Manchester City, the club issued a warning about “individuals in seated areas stand[ing] for prolonged periods of time rather than during short periods of play where it could be deemed unnatural to remain seated”.

The statement added that failure to comply could lead to sanctions against the club or a partial closure of the stadium.

What is the latest on the new Anfield Road end?

Liverpool have so far played three games with their new stand partially full, and registered their three largest attendances in half a century.

Two league games against Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, as well as a Carabao Cup quarter-final against West Ham United sandwiched in between, have seen 57,000 supporters watch on from the stands.

The hospitality areas and one section of the lower tier are not yet ready to hold supporters. The club hope that these areas will be able to accept supporters from late January onwards, which would bump up the attendance to 61,000 and make Anfield the fifth-largest stadium in England.

Jamie Barton

A freelance football writer and podcaster, Jamie has appeared on/in the BBC World Service, PA Media, Charlton Athletic FC and Empire of the Kop, among others. He's attended matches all around the world, from Tranmere to Tokyo, and once had his bus home from the 2022 Champions League final in Paris delayed by 28 hours.

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