Liverpool are braced for a Premier League hearing to fight a charge of illegally approaching Clint Dempsey during last summer’s failed bid for the former Fulham striker.
Dempsey left Craven Cottage for Tottenham on deadline day last August despite well-documented interest from the Merseyside club.
Fulham did not drop their complaint following Dempsey’s departure and are still rigorously intent on calling Liverpool to account for what they believe is a breach of the rules.
Evidence is still being assembled in the case, but Liverpool could be fined or hit with a suspended points deduction if they are unable to defend themselves against the charge.
Fulham made a formal protest to the Premier League in July after taking exception to comments by manager Brendan Rodgers, reported on Liverpool’s official website, expressing interest in the striker.
There was also an embarrassing gaffe on the New England Sports Network website which erroneously claimed a deal was agreed. Although Liverpool Football Club have no editorial control over NESN, they have the same owners and a private apology was issued to the London club for the mistake.
Liverpool intend to fight any charge and are aware an investigation is ongoing, although it is understood they have not yet received any confirmation of a timescale as to when a hearing will take place.
Fulham’s case will focus on the public comments released by Liverpool, which undoubtedly impacted on the Anfield club’s negotiating position when it came to trying to seal a deal for the American international.
Liverpool have been called to account by the Premier League before, when they were fined for an illegal approach to Middlesbrough’s Christian Ziege in 2000.
Spurs also reported Liverpool when they moved for Robbie Keane in 2008, although they dropped the complaint on completion of the £20 million sale.
In recent years, Chelsea received a three-point, suspended penalty for illegally approaching Ashley Cole.