Melwood, the home of Liverpool FC since the late ’50s, was transformed into a world-class training facility by the legend we call Bill Shankly.
A place where it all began for some of the legends that have graced the club, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Michael Owen and ‘God’ Robbie Fowler.
On July 17th, 2018, the club announced stunning plans to build a new training base in Kirkby, where they will combine both the club’s youth academy and the first team. The new base for the Reds is rumoured to be costing around £50m.
The impressive 9,200 square metre training ground will boast multiple gymnasiums, a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy complex, TV studios and three full-size pitches. With this new setup, the owners will believe they have provided a solid foundation for the club to continue producing local talent and producing global superstars.
Here we explore how manager Jurgen Klopp will be able to work more closely with the academy and how vital a training ground is when it comes to attracting new talent.
Bringing Jurgen Klopp closer to the academy
Working closely with the academy staff is one of Klopp’s most important objectives, which he will certainly be able to achieve with the move into the new complex.
Scouting, nurturing and developing young talent has always been at the core of the academy staff’s planning. They play their way up from an age as young as seven years old, hoping to break through and achieve their dream of playing in front of the Kop one day.
Coming from Liverpool FC Chief Operating Officer Andy Hughes: “It has always been our aspiration to provide a clear pathway for progression for our youngsters from the club’s academy to the first team, and the two facilities are now intrinsically linked.”
With the academy and first-team both being under the same complex, this will help the younger lads feel part of the furniture and also ensure they feel equally valued at the club.
One thing Jurgen Klopp has always been very keen on is showing his intent to work with the younger players, giving them the promise of a chance with the first team should their talent warrant it.
He has famously pictured watching the U18’s at the club’s academy, only two days after being appointed the club’s new manager.
This was a sign of things to come for the club, with Klopp handing first-team debuts across different competitions to the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Harvey Elliott, Van den Berg and Rhian Brewster.
The first-team and the U23s squad will be sharing the sports hall and hydrotherapy complex, whilst also having their own designated areas of the complex.
Klopp will be able to watch over his academy prospects train at any point he wishes. This will enable him to truly gauge an opinion over their talents and more importantly their attitude towards training and development.
Attracting new talent
In a league that clubs are forever growing in reputation and financial capability, it is vital to stay ahead of the trend when it comes to facilities.
Manchester City moved into their new £50m training facility in recent years, which even includes its own designated stadium for its reserve matches.
Showing potential new player’s around the training ground is usually one of the first selling points for a club to impress the player. A top of the range facility will do wonders for Klopp and his team to further sell the club’s ambition.
Jurgen Klopp always has his eye on potential young players to bring into the club. For a young player, the training complex a new club has to offer is a massive priority for them, it’s where they will spend some of the most important days developing their career.
A relevant example of how important facilities are when it comes to young talents choosing a club is with Birmingham City starlet Jude Bellingham.
A host of clubs seem to be taking a keen look into the teenage sensation, with Manchester United being touted as his most likely destination.
Jude Bellingham was shown around the Red Devils A-ON training complex and, according to The Express, was “impressed” with the facilities and togetherness of the club.
The move over to the new complex in Kirkby is scheduled to be completed before the start of the 2020/2021 season. Despite the global pandemic due to Covid-19, it’s reported that the club will move in on time.