Liverpool fans walk out of Anfield in 77th minute vs. Sunderland
Thousands of Liverpool fans carried out their threat to stage a walkout at Saturday's 2-2 draw against Sunderland in a protest against increased ticket prices.
Supporters' groups had planned the walk-out -- the first in Anfield's 132-year history -- in the 77th minute of Saturday's match at Anfield in reference to a £77 match ticket, among a host of ticket prices announced this week.
With Liverpool leading 2-0 in the 77th minute, large groups of fans went streaming towards the exits, though the majority remained in their seats. Sunderland then rallied with two late goals to earn a draw.
The Liverpool Echo estimated the number of fans who left the 45,500 capacity stadium to be about 10,000.
Fans' groups Spirit of Shankly and Spion Kop 1906 led the protest after Liverpool this week announced a £77 match ticket (about $112), up from £59 ($86) and a £1,000 season ticket were announced this week.
Liverpool have argued the new price structure -- which includes 45 percent of match tickets decreasing in price, 64 percent of season tickets reduced or staying the same in cost, better availability for local fans and around 1,500 £9 tickets for category C games -- offers greater accessibility and affordability.
Spirit of Shankly had criticised Fenway Sports Group, the club's American owners, for refusing to respond to their concerns during the consultation period.
Liverpool development coach Pepijn Lijnders, speaking in place of absent manager Jurgen Klopp, said the walkout did not affect Saturday's result.
"We've one of best fan groups in world. If they want to make statement they've every right," he said.
On Friday, the club's chief executive Ian Ayre had urged supporters to "look at the facts" and not carry out the threat.
"We have listened, but of course we can't give everyone everything they want," he said of fans' anger at the rises.
"I have a responsibility as chief executive to run the business and we have to do the right things for our fans and the club and the mix is a really tough one to get right."