The coronavirus pandemic has affected businesses in all industries with football no exception as it’s revealed how much Liverpool FC stand to lose.
The worldwide footballing calendar came to a halt in March as governments looked to stop the spread of coronavirus with social distancing measures.
The Premier League suspended its 2019/20 season on 13 March, with clubs taking on monumental losses due to unfulfilled contract obligations, and a lack of TV and match-day revenue.
The league is set to return this month, although the financial strain clubs have had to bear with will linger much longer.
The Mirror‘s David Maddock has estimated Liverpool are in a loss of “anywhere between £70 million and £200 million” during the current financial year. This is in stark contrast to their solid £42m pre-tax profit showing in last year’s accounts.
“They’re looking at a loss of anywhere between £70 million and quite possibly £200 million in the next year, the current financial year – as will all the top clubs,” Maddock said.
“I’ve had some stick and I’ve seen so much on Twitter from Liverpool fans saying ‘get rid of the board’, ‘get rid of FSG, they have no ambition’.
“The reality is all clubs are going to be, with one or two exceptions, facing a huge loss because of this coronavirus crisis.
“A loss of revenue will equal a big loss for nearly all clubs. If you look at Premier League finances, even Liverpool who recorded a record profit, if you like, that was only on the balance sheet at the end after accounting was about £20 million – so basically breakeven.
“Nearly all Premier League clubs only breakeven. And when I say losses there will be losses because they’ve already budgeted for this season’s income but, of course, this season’s income is now hit.
“They’ve had to give TV money back, quite a significant amount and the bigger clubs are hit more because they were going to get a larger share.
“And obviously gate receipts but matchday income, which for Liverpool with their fairly extensive hospitality boxes etc. that runs into millions of pounds per match.
“Even if the fans come back in September when the new season starts, they will have run into losses, running into the 50, 60, 70 million on this season’s outlay which they have already budgeted for.
“So any profit they made last season is turned into a significant loss.”
Maddock’s comments highlight the challenges faced by all Premier League clubs, with Liverpool no exception despite the sustainable way in which FSG run the club.
The Reds looked set to sign RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner this summer amid reliable reports confirming Jurgen Klopp’s interest in the impressive striker.
However, they unexpectedly pulled out of the race this month, allowing rivals Chelsea to swoop for the 24-year-old. Klopp later said: “There are a lot of good players on this planet. Timo Werner is a great player, Kai Havertz is a great player.
“Right time, opportunity – everything has to come together. Six, seven weeks ago, we didn’t know if we could play again this year. If we hadn’t played the second half of the season, we would have thought, ‘OK, when can you really play football again?’ And now it starts right away.
“We act as if everything is already settled. It’s not settled. We use this little loophole we’ve been left to play football again. Everything else we have to see the moment it happens. We can’t pretend now that everything’s going to be fine in the future.
“It’s rather quiet here [at Liverpool] at the moment, I think it’s safe to say. If you want to take it seriously and run a normal business and depend on income and have no idea how much you will earn – especially because we don’t know when we can start playing with spectators again.
“At the moment, all clubs are losing money. Without spectators, we have to pay back the season tickets and probably sell none next year.
“At least maybe without the first 10 or 15 games. The VIP areas won’t be packed and the tickets won’t be sold. This will have an impact on other partners and things will look a bit different.
“Discussing with the players about things like salary waivers and on the other hand buying a player for £50-60m, we have to explain.”
Liverpool were odds-on favourites to land Werner, with the forward reported to be “willing to wait” for a move to Anfield. A switch to rivals Chelsea is therefore undoubtedly a blow for the Reds.
Whilst Liverpool’s stance has been questioned in some quarters, the owners have often reiterated the need to be sensible and sustainable. Spending such a large sum of money would then be imprudent, especially with so much uncertainty in football and the wider world.