Liverpool saga could run into next week

LEGAL sources close to Liverpool’s ownership battle have told City A.M. that today’s hearing is likely to be only the beginning of a lengthy process.

A quick verdict is not expected and, after a discussion about timings, the case is thought likely to be adjourned until later this week or early next week. Even if Royal Bank of Scotland’s argument that Liverpool’s board is entitled to sell the club without the consent of Tom Hicks and George Gillett is upheld, the owners are almost certain to appeal.

It means Liverpool seem destined to go into this weekend’s Merseyside derby with Everton mired in uncertainty and with the threat of a nine-point deduction for entering administration hanging over them.

Sources close to Liverpool accept that the saga is likely to last into next week and possibly beyond.

In favour of Liverpool and New England Sports Ventures is that the Premier League has also approved the deal and ratified the American suitors as so-called fit and proper owners.

Mr Justice Floyd will begin the hearing today in Court 16 of the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. The timing is at the judge’s discretion, but there are six other applications to be heard so it will not necessarily be first on the list when hearings begin at 10:30am.

Liverpool fans’ group Spirit of Shankly told City A.M. on Sunday that they expected several hundred Reds supporters to gather outside the courts for the case. They are keen to vent their anger at Hicks and Gillett, who they blame for the club’s slide from top four to bottom three.