Liverpool's stadium expansion pushed back by a year due to pandemic

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FILE PHOTO: Anfield General Views

(Reuters) - Liverpool's expansion of their Anfield Road stand has been postponed by a year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the earliest target for completion is now 2023, the Premier League club said on Monday.

Liverpool opened their redeveloped Main Stand in 2016, which raised seating capacity to more than 54,000, and the club were set to begin work on the Anfield Road stand in December.

However, the project has been paused due to delays brought about by lockdown measures in the country. The original target date for completion was the British summer of 2022, with the stadium's capacity set to be increased to more than 61,000.

"The complex build programme for Anfield Road is an 18-month process and needs two clear summer closed season windows in order for it to be successful," Liverpool COO Andy Hughes said in a statement

"This is why we are pausing on the project for at least 12 months so the earliest we could complete the programme is summer 2023 rather than summer 2022 as originally planned.

"Given the planning application is no longer time-critical, it is our intention to submit our planning application at some stage during the next 12 months."

Anfield is set to become the third biggest Premier League stadium after the expansion, behind Manchester United's Old Trafford and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Professional soccer in England has been suspended indefinitely since mid-March. The British government's lockdown measures are in place at least until May 7, when the government is set to review the current restrictions.

British media reported the league was looking at a potential restart in June with an eye on finishing the remaining fixtures in July, albeit without spectators in attendance. All 20 teams will discuss the matter in a conference call on Friday.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Alex Richardson)