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Liverpool unveils new stadium design


Liverpool will retain its famous Kop end when it moves into a new 60,000-seater stadium in the city's Stanley Park in 2010.

Computer-generated images of the new stadium were revealed by the Premier League club on Wednesday with a steeply banked, 18,000 capacity Kop end an integral part of a design which veers away from the bowl-like appearance of many new grounds.

An official planning application has been submitted to Liverpool City Council for the $617.9 million development in the north of the city.

Moving from the club's spiritual Anfield home is an emotive subject for fans of the five-time European champions, but chief executive Rick Parry said the new Kop end would become the "heartbeat" of the four-sided stadium.

"We've always recognized the central importance of the Kop," Parry said in a statement. "It will have a significantly increased capacity of 18,000 seats in a single tier structure that will be the heartbeat of the new stadium.

"The rake of the stand will be steeper and the seats tighter together, with the acoustics of the roof designed to accentuate the atmosphere during games."

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European nights at Anfield are one of the most colorful sights in British soccer. The current Kop end becomes a sea of red banners while thousands bellow out the club's anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.

Many Premier League clubs have abandoned their historic roots for new stadiums with Arsenal being the latest example, leaving its Victorian Highbury stadium in 2006 for the bowl-like Emirates complex just down the road.

Liverpool's current Anfield capacity of 45,000 is deemed insufficient to compete with the likes of Manchester United (76,000) and Arsenal (60,000) while the likes of Newcastle United also have much bigger stadiums.

Club captain Steven Gerrard said keeping the Kop was vital.

"The fact that a massive Kop end in incorporated in the the new stadium is great," he said. "I was completely blown away by the plans. I've played in some great stadiums but this is something special."

Stadium designers, American-based architects HKS, have been involved in many sports arenas including the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and the new venue for Super Bowl champions the Indianapolis Colts.