A takeover of Liverpool appears increasingly imminent after the club and a number of interested parties alerted the Premier League to a possible change in ownership.
Under tougher new rules on club ownership announced by the Premier League in response to Portsmouth's financial meltdown, 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.
It is understood Liverpool and a number of parties contemplating a takeover – including Chinese businessman Kenny Huang – have already contacted the Premier League to alert them a change of ownership could be imminent.
Under the rules, the Premier League will have to be given 10 days' notice of any takeover, and the prospective owners will be required to have a face-to-face meeting with league officials to convince them they have enough money for the season to come. Clubs will also have to provide evidence every quarter that they are up to date with tax payments to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs.
The former "fit and proper persons test" has been renamed as the "owners and directors test" and toughened up. Now anyone barred from other sporting organisations or competitions will not be allowed to be a club director.
The strengthening of the regulations is an attempt to reduce the risk of another crisis similar to that suffered by Portsmouth, who went into administration last season. The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said: "We believe we have the measures now in place, the early warning system, that will reduce the risk of having a repeat of the Portsmouth situation."