- Ryan MacArthur
Anfield – Liverpool FC
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Anfield Anfield Rd Liverpool, England L69 3JF United Kingdom
Liverpool FC website Anfield website
Year Opened: 1884 Capacity: 45,276
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Anfield is one of the most renowned football stadiums in the world. Built in 1884, the ground was actually home to Liverpool’s archrivals, Everton FC, until 1892. The founding of the club resulted in a dispute over rent and beer sales at Anfield between the grounds owner John Houlding and the directors of Everton. The football club opted to play its home games at Goodison Park and Houlding was left without a club. That changed when he formed Liverpool FC on 15 March 1892.
Anfield has been the club’s home since its founding and has four stands: the Spion Kop, the Main Stand, the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand and the Anfield Road End. The stadium has gone through a series of renovations including its most recent in September of 2016 when its capacity was increased to 54,074 but has since been toned down to 53,094, making it one of the largest all-seater single stands in European football. Its total capacity ranks it 7th in all of English football.
Plans are taking place that will increase the size of Anfield to 61,000. The development of the ‘away end,’ the Anfield Road stand, would allow 7000 new seats to be added. The increase would see Anfield become the third largest English Premier League ground after Old Trafford (76,212) and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (62,062). The work on the Anfield Rd end would essentially see a new second tier and roof added to the current stand with the road outside re-routed to allow the space to develop. The increased capacity could be available in time for the 2022/23 season.
Food & Beverage 2
Like most English stadiums, the food leaves something to be desired. Meat pies and hot dogs are available inside, and it’s much of the same at the food trucks outside the stadium. It’s all a bit pricey for mediocre munchies. It’s important to note that beer is not served during European nights (Champions League and Europa League matches). When it is available, Carlsberg and Guinness are offered at a reasonable price.
The streets surrounding Anfield fill up way ahead of the match and vendors are on every corner selling match day programmes, some they produce themselves, merchandise such as scarves, and food from kiosks. There are a ton of pubs to grab a pint and something to eat before the match and it only gets better once you walk under either of the gates at the stadium which are named after former Liverpool managers: Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.
Once you are at your seat the Liverpool supporters know how to get behind their side better than most. Be prepared for goosebumps and chills when the crowd belts out, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” prior to kickoff. With that said, the normally outstanding atmosphere will fall off the cliff should the Reds fail to live up to their fans’ high expectations.
The Kop is an impressive site. Housing around 12,500 “Kopites,” the south end of the stadium is packed with the most ardent Liverpool supporters, waving their flags and holding up their banners. The passion is so strong in the Kop that it’s been said to have the ability to suck the ball into the back of the opposition’s net. Away supporters are seated on the left side of the Main Stand.
Liverpool opened a new superstore situated on the corner of the Kop and the Main Stand. The superstore is a 19,500 square foot space that features 20 short printing machines, a first-floor café, a fan activation space and a VIP area. it is estimated that the store will sell 40 thousand scarves in one year.
The space in between the new store and the stadium was developed into a fan zone. There are actually two fan zones: Fan Zone Paisley Square, off Walton Breck Road, and the Family Park which is located on Anfield Road. These two areas are ideal for families with drinks, food, live entertainments, and exclusive content on big screen TVs.
The neighborhoods around Anfield aren’t very aesthetically appealing, but the area is generally safe. Be aware that the streets can get very congested during the walks to and from the stadium. Use of common sense will keep fans and tourists safe from pickpockets and troublemakers. There are also loads of pubs around Anfield and each of them offer great atmosphere and memorabilia.
The area surrounding Anfield is mostly residential; so don’t count on finding any restaurants or gastro pubs. Home supporters will be right at home grabbing a pint and chatting with mates The Flat Iron, The Park Pub, The Twelfth Man, The Park, or the Albert. The Sandlon is also another ideal spot for Reds fans that holds a lot of history as it was once the place where Everton players changed before a match when they played here. Away supporters will find solace at The Arkles.
Liverpool is a tourist destination with plenty to see and do. The cab drivers are typically very friendly, and knowledgeable about the best restaurants and attractions. Some will even offer tours of the city, highlighted by important Beatles sites.
Scousers are some of the best folks to watch a football match with. They’re respectful of opposing teams and their fans, as long as that respect is returned. Most everyone in the stands is knowledgeable about the game and will be fairly disciplined as to when it’s appropriate to stand or sit. It’s almost a guarantee someone in your section will have a go at the referee that will cause a roar of laughter.
Finding parking around Anfield is a crapshoot at best. The only places to park are on the neighborhood streets, but even if you do find a spot, expect a long wait to get out unless you plan on leaving at halftime. The Liverpool website offers specific instructions for all modes of transportation, but the best means is by train via the Lime Street station, Kirkdale Station, or Sandhills Station and catching the bus to the stadium.
Return on Investment 4
With the history and atmosphere surrounding Anfield, the trip and match day tickets are worth every penny. There’s enough to do in Liverpool to make a weekend out of the excursion, and the game itself will (usually) not disappoint. Tickets are difficult to come by, but range from £37-£59. Third party websites will charge triple that, but be wary of scams.
Walking under the iron gates where the words, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” are inscribed is an inspiring experience. There are one hour stadium tours for £17, and a club museum that charges a £8.50 entrance fee. Outside the ground is a very poignant memorial to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster where fans can place floral arrangements.
Most of the staff are friendly and accommodating, but the stewards are not afraid to shout spectators down if they’re standing at inappropriate times. There are some areas where your view can be restricted by a support pillar, so it’s recommended to check the area before purchasing tickets.