Liverpool fan group Spirit of Shankly express concerns after Athletico Bilbao ticket 'fiasco' on Anfield return

Supporters faced long queues entering the stadium and some missed kick-off.

Liverpool fans arrive at Anfield ahead of the pre-season friendly against Athletic Bilbao. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Liverpool supporters were left frustrated on their return to Anfield as many suffered delays entering the stadium for Sunday's pre-season friendly against Athletic Bilbao.

A ticketing system fault meant sections of Kopites missed kick-off for the 1-1 draw against the La Liga outfit – despite the game being pushed back by 30 minutes to accommodate fans.

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What's been said

Fan group Spirit of Shankly have demanded those impacted by delays to be given a full refund.

There are also concerns there will be further problems for Liverpool's first home game of the 2021-22 Premier League season against Burnley on Saturday, August 21.

A Spirit of Shankly statement said: “Today's thrill of returning to Anfield soon turned sour for thousands of Liverpool FC supporters.

“For many, it was the first time they had been to the stadium in almost 18 months; for the club to see their new entry system in action before the first home game of the season on 21 August.

“Some were told to move to other turnstiles, other than the one they were supposed to enter, as they were opened for anyone to go in. It took some fans, including one of Spirit of Shankly's committee members upwards of eight attempts to gain access.

“This had the feeling of more than teething problems and it is worrying what will happen tomorrow when Liverpool play Osasuna and in two weeks' time for the lunchtime kick-off against Burnley with a full capacity.

“Worries over what would happen with entry now relying not only on the technology at the turnstiles but also on thousands of individual phones have been relayed to the club over the past few weeks.

“Those fans who did not get in on time, or at all, should be refunded the price of their ticket at the very least.

“SOS have contacted LFC and we will keep members updated.”

Liverpool have apologised for the delays and insisted they will try to remedy the problem ahead of this evening's friendly against Osasuna.

A club statement said: “We apologise wholeheartedly to all fans impacted by the delayed entry into Anfield today. This was due to issues relating to access processes and matchday operations.

“As a result of these challenges, kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes in order to allow our ticketing services team to reduce the queues and get supporters inside the stadium as quickly and safely as possible.

“We understand how frustrating this has been for our supporters, who have been looking forward to getting back into Anfield.

“We will be doing a full debrief of today’s entry process to identify why the system was slower than expected and will endeavour to ensure such issues are addressed ahead of Monday night’s match against Osasuna. As part of this, we will communicate any changes impacting fans, along with additional guidance, for this next friendly fixture in due course.

“We thank supporters for their patience and understanding.”

Background

Liverpool recently introduced near field communication (NFC) technology for stadium entry this season. All tickets for matches at Anfield are digital on a smartphone, in the form of an NFC pass.

Kopites returned to watch the Reds at full capacity for the first time since March 7, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Reds picked up a 1-1 draw against Bilbao, with Diogo Jota scoring for the hosts in the 13th minute.

Jurgen Klopp's side face Osasuna tonight (7pm) before opening their Premier League campaign at Norwich on Saturday.