Liverpool have postponed the expansion of the Anfield Road stand by at least 12 months because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Work on the £60m, 16,000-seat stand was to begin in December, subject to planning permission, in order for an 18-month development to be completed in the summer of 2022.

A close season is required to put the finishing touches to the construction, a timeline Liverpool also followed when building the new main stand. However, with no guarantee the time-sensitive project can start in December, club officials have delayed the expansion.

Liverpool hope to start work on increasing Anfield’s capacity to more than 61,000 in December 2021, with a view to completion in the summer of 2023.

The expansion of the Anfield Road stand is expected to take 18 months and is scheduled to now be completed in 2023. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Andy Hughes, the Liverpool chief operating officer, said: “We have experienced a number of delays to the planned project as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown. Given the challenges that many sectors are facing, including the construction, procurement and public sectors, we are taking a responsible approach to pause the project for at least 12 months.

“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. This is why we are pausing on the project for at least 12 months so the earliest we could complete 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.”

Hughes added that Liverpool would use the delay “to review and consider options”.

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