Ian Herbert: Lawyer hits spot with his dismissal of American pair

You knew it was going to be an exceptional day in the history of a club which has known a few of them when the route to Court 16 meandered past signs for the Peter Andre v Katie Price legal battle. Andre is apparently suing Price for slander over her claims that he had a relationship with his manager, Claire Powell, but that's as nothing compared to Tom Hicks and George Gillett's relationship with Merseyside. The showbusiness was adjourned. They knew their place.

The Liverpool shirts and scarves gradually became a part of the oak-panelled courtroom scene, where Mr Justice Floyd's red collar ribbons met with a few smiles when he appeared. But it was left to one of the inhabitants of this realm to provide something memorable. Lord Grabiner, representing chairman Martin Broughton in the case, had been described in the build-up as "startlingly talented" though it was the wit which accompanied his dissection of the Hicks and Gillett case, put together by Paul Girolami QC, which stole the show.

It started with his enunciation of Gillett. The hard "G" sounded like an accident until he kept repeating it, over and over, at odds with Girolami's soft "G". Then he threw in a few references to "Hicks Minor", for good measure: a way of belittling Hicks Jnr that Liverpool fans might have used before if they had only thought of it. "I'm not differentiating between Mr Hicks and Gillett though I assume they have different personalities," Lord Grabiner added, deadpan.

The disappointment for Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow was that his seat alongside Broughton, smack in front of the judge, prevented him turning to witness all this. Neck movement was limited to some purposeful turns to cast daggers looks at Girolami.

As the central figures processed out of the court precincts last night to the chants of Liverpool fans, they knew that Grabiner is the man they need walking with them if events take a bad turn today. Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres earn even more than Grabiner, who features in the top 10 fee earners in his profession. But he looks like the one who can do most to save the club now. He will be an improbable legend on Merseyside for years if the Americans are ushered out.

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