Former players Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore turned on Liverpool after the Premier League leaders became the fifth top-flight club to announce they have furloughed some non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
The PA news agency understands around 200 staff, whose work is effectively idle during the Premier League suspension, have been affected by the decision.
Liverpool, who in February announced pre-tax profits of £42million for 2018-19, will top up the public money received from the government to ensure the affected staff receive their full salaries.
Liverpool are following Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich in turning to the government’s job retention scheme during the suspension of the Premier League, a decision which impressed neither Carragher, Collymore nor supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly.
Collymore was even more forthright as he wrote: “I don’t know of any Liverpool fan of any standing that won’t be anything other than disgusted at the club for furloughing staff.
“It’s just plain f****** wrong.
“Fellow football fans, furlough is for small business staff to keep those small businesses from going bump!
“Every Premier League owner has serious cash, and make money from skyrocketing values of clubs, so what aren’t you getting about YOUR owners dipping into THEIR pocket?”
Former midfielder Dietmar Hamann later tweeted: “Astonished by the news that @lfc takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80 % of non-playing staffs wages back of the government. That’s not what the scheme was designed for. Contrary to the morals and values of the club i got to know.”
Liverpool’s announcement came as Premier League clubs were meeting with representatives of players and managers to discuss possible wage cuts for first-team staff.
A Liverpool club statement read: “The club have confirmed those staff will be paid 100 percent of their salaries to ensure no member of staff is financially disadvantaged.
“Last month the club also confirmed that it would pay its matchday and non-matchday staff while the Premier League is suspended.”