The Premier League today gave a huge boost to Liverpool being taken over by the owners of the Boston Red Sox by saying they would be ready to give the deal the go-ahead as early as Friday.
League chiefs have been kept informed about the £300m (€344m) offer by New England Sports Ventures, principally owned by billionaire John W Henry.
Although a Singapore-based consortium is also interested, the American offer looks much more likely to succeed despite opposition from the Reds’ current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The league said in a statement: “The board of the Premier League has been kept fully informed of developments regarding the potential sale of Liverpool FC by the chairman and senior executives of the club and has, accordingly, been made aware of a number of potential prospective owners in recent weeks.
“We can confirm that Liverpool FC has formally notified the Premier League of an intended change of control and that the board has undertaken to complete all the necessary processes by Friday, October 8 so that the sale of the club can proceed.”
The Royal Bank of Scotland, owed £280m by Hicks and Gillett, are trying to drive the deal through with the backing of Liverpool’s independent chairman Martin Broughton.
If Hicks and Gillett block the takeover, then their holding company could be put into administration by RBS over their unpaid debts.
Premier League sources say that whether a points deduction would come into effect remains unclear but it is thought to be unlikely.
Liverpool would argue that under new Premier League rules regarding parent companies, if the club itself is a fully solvent entity – as Liverpool are - then the penalty clause should not apply.
A Premier League source told Press Association Sport: “The aim of the regulations is primarily to capture clubs who have gone into insolvency.”
For example, last year West Ham’s Icelandic owners went into administration but that did not lead to any Premier League action as the club itself was solvent.
The interest of NESV in acquiring Liverpool has gathered pace over the last week. All prospective owners are obliged to give the league 10 days’ notice of a takeover and prove they have the funds to sustain the club.