What price a Reds renaissance as Klopp looks to rebuild?

Work progresses on the Anfield Road extension

Delays to Liverpool’s £80m new-look Anfield Road Stand have dampened the club’s Premier League opening plans – perhaps a follow on from last season’s uncharacteristic damp squib of a campaign.

The Reds had hoped to unveil the new stand and expanded 61,000 capacity in their August 19 home game against Bournemouth.

Main contractor Buckingham Group recently revealed that only the lower tier will be ready for the fixture, and the new development will probably undergo a phased opening at subsequent home games, with completion by October.

This season will have an unfamiliar look for many Liverpool fans – trophyless following the 2022-23 season, and only the Europa League to look forward to after missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time in seven years.

A far cry from the previous season when Liverpool played every possible game in all competitions in its, ultimately unsuccessful, bid to clinch an historic quadruple. Two cup wins ain’t bad, though.

Last season began well, with a 3-1 Community Shield win over arch rivals Manchester City, the club that pipped the Reds to the Premier League title on the final day of the previous season.

Jürgen Klopp – courtesy LFC

The club’s 16th Community Shield victory was significant for manager Jürgen Klopp, ensuring he had won all available first-tier trophies with Liverpool.

But the campaign unravelled, with cup exits and a final fifth placing, as well as the loss of players including Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta, together with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson opting for the Saudi Arabian scene.

This year will be a regrouping for Klopp and his charges as they bid to, once again, overtake the juggernaut that is Manchester City with Pep Guardiola at the wheel.

Extra competition could also be looming in Erik ten Hag’s rejuvenated Manchester United, eager to muscle into the title race, buoyed by new signings Mason Mount, Andre Onana, and forward Rasmus Højlund from Atalanta.

However, Liverpool will be looking to their key £60m signing in Dominik Szoboszlai, from RB Leipzig, who will feature in a new-look midfield with fellow newbie, Argentinian World Cup winner, Alexis Mac Allister, switching for £35m from Brighton.

And the club’s 62nd consecutive season in England’s top tier will be without the distraction of potential buyout speculation after majority owner, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), confirmed that it was not for sale.

In November last year online sports outlet, The Athletic, said FSG had created a presentation for interested parties keen to take over ownership of the Merseyside club which it had acquired for £300m in October 2010 from fellow Americans, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

At the time the club was valued at £3.6bn.

But earlier this year, FSG boss, John Henry, said he was not seeking to sell Liverpool, but wouldn’t be averse to any interests of investment.

Financially, the foundations for continued dominance are firmly in place.

The latest annual figures, published in February this year, revealed a £107m increase in revenues, giving a total of £594.3m, which saw the Reds leapfrog Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain to become third richest club in world football, behind Manchester City and Real Madrid.

John Henry – courtesy LFC

While the owners are increasing the physical capacity with extensions to Anfield’s Main Stand and the Anfield Road Stand – FSG has invested more than £250m in infrastructure over the past five years – the annual report revealed staggering gains in the global fan-base, with 21 million new social media followers, taking the total followers to 127 million across Liverpool’s social media channels.

Andy Hughes, LFC’s managing director, said at the time: “The underlying strength of our financial position remains strong and we continue to operate a sustainable club which is our main objective from a financial perspective.”

Some Reds fans have taken to social media in recent weeks to moan about the absence of a transfer budget war chest for Klopp to spend, but, given his astute stewardship and the boardroom stability at L4, it would be a foolish person to back against a Red renaissance.