Liverpool's new £50million training ground has been declared a “critical component” in the progress of the Champions League finalists.
The new facility on the site of the current Academy at Kirkby took a major step forward with the breaking ground ceremony to officially start work on the project on Thursday.
Construction will be completed in time for the Reds' senior team to move from Melwood for the start of the 2020-21 season on to the site alongside the current youth set-up.
And Andy Hughes, Liverpool's chief operating officer, believes the new training ground is required to help keep the club among Europe's elite.
“Getting all our training facilities on one site is a critical step," he said. "Melwood does need upgrading, and this allows us to create world class, state of art facilities.
“It is a big commitment and investment from the owners. If you want to be one of the top European clubs – and stay there – you have to continue to invest. Having one the best training grounds helps deliver success on the pitch.
Here's how the Liverpool Academy will look when work is completed. (Changing rooms) (Image: Liverpool FC)
“We've been talking about this with the ownership group for five years, we have been working on detailed designs and planning for three years. This has always been on the agenda.
“Jurgen Klopp has been involved and the team has been involved, and we have consulted with them. It will look and feel exactly how you'd expect an elite facility for Liverpool Football Club to be.
Here's how the Liverpool Academy will look when work is completed. (Gym) (Image: Liverpool FC)
“This is a critical component of a successful football club. Liverpool Football Club was going to have to make this development.”
Asked if the work will be completed on schedule, Hughes added: “Absolutely, yes. We are very confident everything is organised and planned. From 2020, the team will be in for the pre-season programme.”
Liverpool managing directory Billy Hogan has previously stated the club will consider naming rights for the new training ground, similar to the deal Manchester United have with Aon.
The Reds also have planning permission for a housing estate at Melwood once they vacate the facility in two years.