Liverpool have quickly dismissed suggestions that they have been reported by Crewe Alexandra for an illegal approach to one of their young players.

Crewe director of football Dario Gradi.

Dario Gradi claimed on Monday that the League Two club had reported a Premier League club for ‘tapping up’ their youngster Max Clayton. This is on the back of Chelsea being banned from signing any players until 2011 for a similar incident.

It then emerged that the club in question could very well be Liverpool, but the Reds have played down these reports by saying that they are unaware any complaint had been made.

As for the player in question, 15-year-old Clayton is very highly thought of at Crewe and has attracted plenty of attention from clubs in higher leagues. This includes Liverpool who were linked with the teenager in February 2008.

In fact, they have had a six-figure sum rejected by Crewe for Clayton in the past, but the player has now expressed his desire to move on from the League Two outfit. All of this combined has led to the football transfer rumour that Liverpool are the club being targeted by Gradi’s complaint to the Football League.

Speaking about these type of incidents involving smaller club’s youngsters, Gradi said that it is simply a case of ‘the big clubs stealing other people’s players’. He also revealed how he was ‘delighted’ with the punishment inflicted on Chelsea for their illegal signing of Gael Kakuta from Lens.

Overall, Gradi hopes that this incident has ‘frightened’ the bigger clubs and leads to teams like Crewe either keeping hold of their young players or, at the very least, receiving sufficient compensation for them.

Lower league clubs like Crewe – who have produced a number of young talents over the years – have been given ‘hope’ according to the 68-year-old, as a direct result of Fifa’s actions.

Whether the Liverpool tapping up story develops any further remains to be seen. Two things are certain though. The Premier League club deny any wrong doing and Gradi will do all he can to make sure the Premier League club involved is punished severely.

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