Ayre expects Anfield progress
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre expects the next step in the redevelopment of Anfield will be completed this summer.
After announcing in October their intention to stay at their current ground the club have been working to buy up properties in the streets bordering the stadium. Until they have acquired all the relevant houses no planning application to extend the Main Stand and Anfield Road can be submitted but Ayre expects the first part to be completed in the next few months.
"We are in an interesting period in terms of our aspirations around the stadium," he said.
"Our goal is to extend Anfield but we need certainty and that comes with the acquisition of properties. Real progress has been made in acquiring them. Once they have all been acquired we will go through the planning process. We would expect to be in a position to make that a certainty this summer. Once planning has been achieved then we can start construction."
An expanded stadium of 60,000 will boost matchday revenue and allow the Reds to close some of the financial ground on their rivals. And with new Financial Fair Play rules - a requirement of which is that clubs must break even over a three-year period to be involved in European competition - kicking in next season, Ayre believes that will help them further.
"We are very supportive of FFP for a number of reasons," he told the Liverpool Echo. "One is we believe you should only spend what you earn. We want there to be as level a playing field as possible. We are in a very fortunate position in that we generate some of the biggest revenues in football despite having not been as successful on the pitch as we would have liked in recent years.
"We also have a huge fan base around the world. We've sold 100,000 tickets at the MCG in Australia this summer and there has been a similar demand for tickets for the other pre-season tour matches in Jakarta and Bangkok. That bodes well in an FFP environment. The real challenge for UEFA is to ensure the rules are applied correctly.
"It's only going to work effectively if there are sanctions for those who don't abide by them."
Liverpool hope to finalise the signing of Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas early next week when he is expected to fly in for a medical.
The two clubs agreed a £7.7million fee a couple of weeks ago and despite the delay in concluding the deal - held up by Celta's successful final-day Primera Division survival battle - the Reds are not concerned about the time being taken. Meanwhile, third-choice goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi has left Anfield to join Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.