Football: Liverpool bid farewell to historic Melwood training ground

Melwood has been the club's base for more than 70 years. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Jurgen Klopp said an emotional farewell to Liverpool's historic Melwood training ground on Tuesday (Nov 10) as the English Premier League champions prepare to move into a new headquarters.

Melwood has been the club's base for more than 70 years, with generations of Anfield players honing their craft on the training pitches.

But, unable to develop the site any further, the Reds will move the first team into the new £50 million (S$89 million) AXA Training Centre in Kirby, on the outskirts of Liverpool, next week.

Their new 9,200 sq m training base is a state-of-the-art facility including three pitches, an indoor sports hall, two gyms, a swimming pool, hydrotherapy and sports rehabilitation facilities.

Melwood was sold last year to a company which will build homes on the site.

Klopp and his coaching staff were on site to close the gates on one of football's most famous training grounds.

"Mixed emotions, really mixed emotions. I am happy about going to Kirkby and very sad about leaving Melwood, to be honest," Klopp told Liverpool's website.

"So, it's strange; I didn't think properly about it so far, but my PA is obviously already moving all my stuff out of my office, so I realised step-by-step that the place already looks different.

"I will miss it, but that's how it should be. Melwood was really good, it was important - an important place in my life, so I will miss it. But Kirkby will be great."

Liverpool had initially planned to move during the pre-season, only for the switch to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like Anfield's old "Boot Room", Melwood has been an iconic part of the Liverpool story since it was transformed in the 1950s by former boss Bill Shankly.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson took to Twitter to post several black-and-white pictures of himself on his last day at Melwood alongside the caption: "One last time..."

Jamie Carragher, Liverpool's second-highest appearance maker, said on social media: "Melwood gone but not forgotten!", while 2005 Champions League winner Steven Gerrard shared a one-word tribute on Instagram, as he posted a picture of the Melwood sign with the caption: "Memories".

Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler posted a poem about Melwood, including the lines: "From Heighway to Macca and Rush through to Yeats, so many legends have shone through those gates."

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