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Liverpool braced for hearing on 'illegal' Dempsey approach

LIVERPOOL are braced for a Premier League hearing to fight a charge of illegally approaching Clint Dempsey during last summer's failed bid for the former Fulham striker.

Dempsey left Craven Cottage for Tottenham on deadline day last August despite well-documented interest from the Merseyside club.

Fulham did not drop their complaint following Dempsey's departure and are still rigorously intent on calling Liverpool to account.

Evidence is still being assembled in the case, but Liverpool could be fined or hit with a suspended points deduction if they are unable to defend themselves against the charge.

Fulham made a formal protest to the Premier League in July after taking exception to comments by manager Brendan Rodgers, reported on Liverpool's official website, expressing interest in the striker.

There was also an embarrassing gaffe on the New England Sports Network website which erroneously claimed a deal had been agreed. Although Liverpool Football Club have no editorial control over NESN, they have the same owners and a private apology was issued to Fulham.

Liverpool intend to fight any charge and are aware an investigation is ongoing, although it is understood they have not yet received confirmation of a timescale for any hearing.

Fulham's case will focus on the public comments released by Liverpool, which undoubtedly impacted on the Anfield club's negotiating position when it came to trying to seal a deal for Dempsey.

Liverpool have been called to account by the Premier League before, when they were fined for an illegal approach to Middlesbrough's Christian Ziege in 2000.

In recent years, Chelsea received a three-point, suspended penalty for illegally approaching then Arsenal star Ashley Cole.