After watching the Boxing Day game of Liverpool v Leicester City, the next day we decided to go on the Anfield Stadium Tour. On match day weekends they offer a slightly different tour so we took the opportunity to go exploring!
We arrived at Anfield early so we decided to go and take a look at Everton's football ground, Goodison Park. Anfield and Goodison are only a short distance apart, separated only by Stanley Park. It's very unusual and amazing to think of all the history between the two clubs. Goodison itself was closed so we took some photos by the gate and at the statue of Dixie Dean. We then took a short walk through Stanley Park before making our way to Anfield.
It was time for our tour so we parked up at Anfield and payed our respects at the memorial for the '96, the memorial is temporarily housed outside the centenary stand while the stadium redevelopment takes place. This memorial is to remember the 96 Liverpool fans who died at the Hillsborough disaster, they went to a football game and never came home.
The tour began at the Bill Shankley statue and we were told how he was the man who really developed the 'Liverpool way' and shaped the club into what it is today. We set off inside the stadium and started in a small lounge area which is where the players had been only the day before after the game. Gerard Houlier insisted on this tradition where the players and their families eat together and socialise after the game. We wondered who was sat in our seats!
Next we went to the new press room. A larger one was required when Jurgen Klopp became manager and it was a very nice room, Keil even took a seat and imagined what it would be like to be the manager of this great club! Next we went to the old press room which was once the famous Liverpool bootroom. It's said this is where many of the tactics were discussed, away from prying ears!
Our next stop was at the players dressing rooms for both home and away teams. The home dressing room was prepared as it would be on match days so it was really cool to see the players shirts and see where they sit before a big game.
Then we touched the famous This Is Anfield sign, put in place to intimidate the opposition! To think of all the legendary people that have done this before us is hard to comprehend, its one of the most famous rituals in world football. Next it was out through the tunnel onto pitchside.
We sat in the managers dugout and could see our seats from the day before, we were taken to the famous 'kop' and told the history of the stadium and the plans for the future. Almost everywhere we visited will be changed due to the redevelopment of the main stand. The main stand is being expanded and many of the rooms and even the tunnel will change position, it will be interesting to see all the changes next season and gives us a reason to go back! We found the tour really interesting and would highly recommend it to any fans of Liverpool football club or fans who enjoy learning more about football history.
Before leaving we went into the Liverpool museum which has many memorabilia from the clubs history. Currently there is also the Steven Gerrard Collection which contains Stevie G's private memorabilia from his years at Liverpool.
We also got to see the real Champions League trophy! Liverpool is only one of a small number of european teams who get to keep a European cup after winning the competition 5 times, UEFA have since changed their rules so any team in the future to achieve the famous five times winners will only get to keep a replica of the trophy. To think Liverpool is the only English club who will ever own a genuine European Cup is quite remarkable.
We had a really enjoyable few hours looking around Anfield, learning the history and exploring the normally private areas of the football club.