Liverpool believe that their plans to furlough staff were leaked by a Premier League rival, according to The Athletic.
The club announced on Saturday that they were furloughing most non-playing staff and therefore cashing in on a government funding scheme.
That drew huge criticism from media and fans, including their own, with Anfield legend Jamie Carragher one of several ex-players to say that the club should be footing the bill on their own.
However, following the adverse reaction, Liverpool performed a U-turn with chief executive officer Peter Moore saying in a statement: “We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that.”
Reacting to that decision, Carragher told Sky Sports: “I thought it was a shocking decision at the time and I’m delighted that they have changed their mind.
“I still think it will leave a bitter taste for a lot of Liverpool supporters because what this did was, it saved the club a few million pounds which is nothing, it cost the taxpayer, and it embarrassed Liverpool supporters throughout the country.
“They embarrassed themselves and they embarrassed their own supporters. I’m delighted that they’ve changed their mind, they had to change their mind, I’m glad they saw sense.
“They’ve actually made mistakes before, in terms of ticket pricing, there was something where they tried to trademark the name Liverpool, and what they’ve also done, and credit to them, they pull back on it. That was always my hope.”
However, a report in The Athletic claims that the details of their original decision were leaked by another Premier League club.
Liverpool owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) president Mike Gordon had held what they thought were confidential discussions on the matter as to how to progress and deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
That included contacting all those impacted and the Anfield side were set to release a statement on Monday – two days after the story broke.
Instead, after being convinced that a top-flight rival had leaked their intentions, Liverpool’s owners had to release a hasty statement on Saturday before, ‘shocked’ by the criticism, deciding to take action.
They held further conference calls on Monday and decided that backtracking and issuing an apology was the only way to limit the PR damage.
A Liverpool staff member told the Athletic: ‘That kind of thing was almost expected of Daniel Levy and Mike Ashley but you don’t expect Liverpool to go down that same route.
“We’re always told we’re part of a family here and that working for Liverpool is different. “This means more” is the marketing slogan.
“Surely part of that is looking after your own rather than taking government money which would be better spent elsewhere with so many businesses struggling?”
More than a dozen executive staff voluntarily took a 25% cut last week.