Liverpool chief Ian Ayre cautions fans on ticket protest

Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has defended the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group ahead of a proposed ticket price protest by suggesting fans should “be careful what they wish for”.

Supporters’ groups are planning the first walk-out in Anfield’s 132-year history in the 77th minute of today’s match against Sunderland after a £77 (€100) match ticket (up from £59 {€76}) and a £1,000 (€1,299) season ticket were announced this week.

The club have argued the new structure — which includes 45% of match tickets decreasing in price, 64% of season tickets reduced or staying the same in cost, better availability for local fans and around 1,500 £9 (€12) tickets for category C games — offers greater accessibility and affordability.

Earlier this week fans’ group Spirit of Shankly criticised FSG, the club’s American owners, claiming they refused to respond directly to some of their concerns during the consultation period and SoS and Spion Kop 1906 are now urging supporters to leave their seats in the 77th minute to demonstrate discontent at the price hike.

“People should be careful what they wish for,” said Ayre, who spoke to try to allay the fears of fans and presented a case for greater accessibility to an increased-capacity Anfield as a £100million redevelopment of the Main Stand nears completion.

“For those of us who were around when we didn’t have these types of owners (referring to the previous dysfunctional regime of Tom Hicks and George Gillett) making these type of decisions the club was in a real mess.

“We have great owners - that £100million came interest-free and they don’t take a penny out of this football club.”

Meanwhile Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted there was “not a story” when questioned about reports suggesting injury-prone striker Daniel Sturridge is looking to leave the club in the summer.

The England international has been sidelined since early December with a hamstring problem, the latest in a long list of issues which has made him unavailable for more days than not since arriving at the club three years ago.

Klopp dismissed reports that Sturridge might be leaving, maintaining there was little substance to the claims.

“If someone wants to ask me something about what they have heard about, then they can ask me, but not ‘suggestions’ - I am not interested in this,” the German said.

“The Daniel story is not a story. How can it be a story? 

“You cannot create stories and then ask me.

“If someone wants to say something, at least write your name under it and don’t suggest something that is not too cool.

“Daniel has been back in training two days and that is great, so everything looks good in this moment.

“Now it is normal football training.

“Obviously there were a few problems in the past with a few injuries, not just since I was here, and that is part of the truth, but this is the past and it would be cool if we could leave it there and we can start from now on.

“We tried everything we could to bring him to this shape and now we are in the moment when hopefully we can get the benefit of this work.

“He’s not available this weekend because of training.”

Klopp will again face Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce today, who branded the Reds manager a “soft German” during a 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light on December 30.

Allardyce is adamant he meant no offence to the German, who later played down the comment.

The Black Cats chief said: “It was more about maybe German football is softer than ours when he said Jeremain Lens should have been sent off.”


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