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FSG have just angered Liverpool supporters at a time they need them in Man City battle

Liverpool owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner at Fenway Park in Boston
-Credit: (Image: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


It may very well have been a case of thinking out loud. But the fierce reaction it has sparked would probably make Liverpool chairman Tom Werner take a moment to consider his options before again going public with such a belief.

Werner's claim that emerged on Friday that he was determined for a Premier League game to be held in New York was greeted as might probably have been expected from the majority of Reds supporters.

They were, to put it mildly, unimpressed.

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Werner, perhaps aware of the response his assertion would bring, swiftly admitted it would be part of a "crazy idea" to have one round of Premier League matches played around the globe. And he had the good sense to point out the significant issue regarding regular matchgoing fans, although his suggestion of cheaper travel and accommodation is perhaps not one that will ever be heard by airlines and hotels.

The other obvious problem regards the very essence of the competition itself. Major domestic leagues work on the basis of every team playing each other home and away once, thus meaning there is no advantage regards venue or opposition. Playing one game outside England, though, would unbalance that equilibrium, as would have the notorious "Game 39" initiative that was mercifully booted out of existence. This isn't about preserving traditions and not embracing change - it's about fairness.

Calls for overseas games are ultimately about one thing - money, whether that is directly through one-off ticket prices or television rights or simply spreading the Premier League brand and those of the clubs across the world. There can never be too many commercial markets, after all.

And while there's little doubt games would prove hugely popular - there's a reason Liverpool and other clubs embark on pre-season tours to such far-flung destinations - they would undoubtedly compromise the integrity of the Premier League itself.

For that reason, then, the timing of the interview being published was unfortunate, Fenway Sports Group once again shooting themselves in the foot when they should instead be easily garnering the goodwill of supporters with Liverpool's backing of the Premier League in their imminent legal battle with Manchester City.

City's assertions that current financial rules make the league anti-competitive - this from a team who, lest we forget, have won six of the last seven titles, a level of dominance never before seen in English football history - and that they are victims of "discrimination against Gulf ownership" by other top-flight clubs would be seismic at any stage.

But that they come just months before the Etihad outfit are due to begin their hearing over an alleged 115 breaches of Premier League financial rules has sharpened the focus even further.

FSG, strong proponents of the financial fair play model, will be aware of the ramifications should City win their case. It would make an already difficult job almost impossible in terms of competing financially with their Abu Dhabi-backed rivals and could lead them to question the wisdom of continuing in what, on the face of it, would appear an increasingly non-competitive arena both on and off the field.

With Liverpool adjusting to life without Jurgen Klopp in charge after almost nine years, welcoming a new head coach in Arne Slot, waiting for a new power structure behind the scenes to bed in while also facing calls to once again spend big in the transfer market, there will be significant scrutiny on the decisions of FSG over the coming months.

Talking up a fixture almost every regular Liverpool supporter regards as contrary to the core values of the club should be the last thing on the agenda of the owners right now.