2J8AD7P Liverpool's Jordan Henderson (centre) lifts the trophy as he celebrates with his team-mates after winning the Emirates FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday May 14, 2022.

Liverpool ‘overtake’ Man United in Money League – but £386m wages tell true story

Liverpool have overtaken Man United to sit third in the Deloitte Money League, with their spending in a quadruple chase standing up well.

The Deloitte Money League is a comprehensive financial analysis of the top-earning clubs in world football, studying revenue, spending and portfolio.

Under Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool have moved steadily up the table, and for the 2021/22 season they have moved above Man United for the first time, into third.

The club brought in €701.7 million (~£594.3m) throughout a season that saw them reach three finals and go to the final day in the Premier League title race.

That makes them the biggest movers in the top 20, having ranked seventh for the 2020/21 season, and they are one of only five clubs to report over €100 million in matchday revenue.

Liverpool are projected to enjoy a sharp increase in matchday revenue, too, when the expansion of the Anfield Road End is complete in time for 2023/24.

Deloitte Money League Top 10 Revenues 2023

  • 1. Man City – €731m
  • 2. Real Madrid €713.8m
  • 3. Liverpool €701.7m
  • 4. Man United €688.6m
  • 5. PSG – €654.2m
  • 6. Bayern Munich – €653.6m
  • 7. Barcelona – €638.2m
  • 8. Chelsea – €568.3m
  • 9. Tottenham – €523m
  • 10. Arsenal – €433.5m

The club brought in €112 million (16%) in matchday revenue, €314 million (45%) in broadcast revenue and €275 million (39%) in commercial revenue.

Man City are claimed to have set a new Premier League record for their €65 million rise in commercial revenue (up to €373m).

Of the top 10, only Tottenham (+29%) saw a higher percentage increase in overall revenue from the previous season than Liverpool (+27%), with West Ham (+36%) the only other club with a bigger increase in the top 20.

Perhaps the most interesting story, though, comes in the wages-to-revenue ratio of clubs across world football.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mate Virgil van Dijk after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool, whose contracts are heavily incentivised, paid out 62 percent of their overall revenue in wages, to the tune of £368.5 million.

While that may seem that a remarkable amount, only five clubs in the Deloitte Money League top 20 paid a lower percentage of wages against their revenue.

Those clubs are Tottenham (47%), West Ham (53%), Bayern Munich (53%), Man City (57%) and Arsenal (58%).

The likes of Everton (96%), Inter Milan (82%) and Leicester (85%) paid out a considerably higher percentage, while Paris Saint-Germain committed a staggering 111 percent of their revenue to wages.

How much of their revenue each club spent on wages

PARIS, FRANCE - Wednesday, August 11, 2021: Lionel Messi signs for Paris Saint-Germain Football Club from FC Barcelona, pictured at the Parc des Princes. (©PSG)

  • 1. Man City – 57%
  • 2. Real Madrid – 73%
  • 3. Liverpool – 62%
  • 4. Man United – 66%
  • 5. PSG – 111%
  • 6. Bayern Munich – 53%
  • 7. Barcelona – 73%
  • 8. Chelsea – 71%
  • 9. Tottenham – 47%
  • 10. Arsenal – 58%
  • 11. Juventus – 84%
  • 12. Atletico Madrid – 65%
  • 13. Dortmund – 65%
  • 14. Inter Milan – 82%
  • 15. West Ham – 53%
  • 16. AC Milan – 64%
  • 17. Leicester – 85%
  • 18. Leeds – 64%
  • 19. Everton – 96%
  • 20. Newcastle – 95%

That came in a season that saw them sign Lionel Messi from Barcelona to play alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

As mentioned, Liverpool’s salary structure is heavily incentivised, so a player’s earnings are tied to both individual and club success.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 27, 2022: Liverpool's Joel Matip celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Jurgen Klopp‘s side playing in 63 games last season, winning the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, finishing second in the Premier League and reaching the Champions League final, those salaries would have increased significantly.

That only shows, perhaps contrary to current opinion, how well-run the club is as a business, and the scale of the job Klopp is pulling off.

However, that is not to say that FSG are infallible – only that those hoping for a Qatari takeover a la PSG may not be considering the best interests of the club in the long term.