Liverpool Football Club, for the last 18 months or so, has been able to do no wrong - both on the pitch and off it. 


However, after showing signs of their mortality against Watford, Chelsea and Atlético Madrid in rapid succession, their behind-the-scenes operation is now under the microscope, after ​taking the controversial decision to furlough staff in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.


It's a decision which has created division even within the club, with reports of 'frustration' among players at the announcement after captain Jordan Henderson had ​rallied Premier League captains to donate wages to the NHS.

The Reds are not the only top-flight team to make the call so far - Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich have announced similar measures - but there is a clear feeling that a club in such a strong financial position as the European champions and Premier League leaders should not have to defer the wages of non-playing staff to the government. 


It's a pretty sobering reminder that even the most effective and apparently forward-thinking corporate ownership is capable of being out of touch, and Anfield legend Jamie Carragher has led the criticism.

Citing a widely-applauded statement from Jurgen Klopp following the initial decision to put English football on pause due to coronavirus, Carragher highlighted the contrast between the compassionate tone of Klopp and the Liverpool players, and the decision made at boardroom level.


"Jurgen Klopp showed his compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavly involved in Premier League players taking wage cuts," he said on Twitter. "Then all respect and goodwill is lost, poor this LFC."

That sentiment was echoed by former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy in his column for the ​Mail, who said furloughing staff flies in the face of the 'community' spirit the club has embodied ever since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.


"I'm particularly disappointed with the decision coming from Liverpool yesterday because it runs against the togetherness and unity the club has always been renowned for, particularly over the last 30 years since Hillsborough," Murphy said. 

"I think there will be a backlash and while the club's business people might think it will save them some money in the short-term, it will cause reputational damage."


The move has been panned almost universally, with many - including Didi Hamann - feeling the scheme was designed for businesses struggling to pay wages, like local bakeries, independent retailers or that new music shop that's just opened up. You know, not Premier League football clubs with billionaire owners making substantial eight-figure profits year on year.


Supporters group Spirit of Shankly has ​released a statement asking for the club's reasoning behind entering the government scheme.

Liverpool are expected to win the Premier League when it eventually returns, though it looks increasingly like that will be behind closed doors after ​Saturday 3pm broadcasting restrictions were lifted at the behest of the English and Scottish FAs.