The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor
reports Liverpool F.C. might be in hot water for having the temerity to show concern for the welfare of one of their own supporters.

The Football Association is to write to Liverpool for an explanation into the orchestrated support shown for the jailed fan Michael Shields during Monday’s 0-0 draw with West Ham United at Anfield.

Officials at Soho Square are considering whether to bring disciplinary charges after taking exception at the manner in which Liverpool have publicly backed a man who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the attempted murder of a Bulgarian waiter, Martin Georgiev, in May 2005.

Another Liverpool fan admitted being responsible for the crime before later retracting his confession and Shields’ case will go before a high court review tomorrow. The FA, however, is alarmed that Liverpool should openly use a live televised game to try to influence the matter.

Rafael Benítez’s players wore T-shirts bearing the slogan Free Michael Now during their pre-match warm-up and the actress Sue Johnston was invited on to the pitch with Shields’ parents to make a speech calling for the justice secretary, Jack Straw, to “do the right thing”.

A mosaic was held up in the Kop spelling out Free Michael Now and the match-day programme contained an article declaring the 22-year-old’s innocence. “Liverpool fan Michael Shields should be here at Anfield for tonight’s game,” it began. “Instead, he will be sitting in a prison cell.”