Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge’s loan move to West Bromwich appears to form the central thread to a Football Association misconduct charge for breaching betting rules.
The 29-year-old has stressed to his club he “categorically has never gambled on football” and it is understood a lengthy investigation by the FA has centred around his temporary switch to the Baggies on January 29.
Sturridge was charged on Monday with breaches in relation to rule E8(1)(a)(ii) and rule E8(1)(b), during the period of January 2018.
The rules prohibit players from betting “directly or indirectly” on a football match or any football-related matter, and to passing on information which can be used for betting purposes.
A spokesman for Liverpool said: “Daniel has also stated categorically that he has never gambled on football.
“As with any issue of this nature, we will allow the process to be concluded in its entirety before making any further comment.”
In late January Sturridge, who had also been linked to Inter Milan and Sevilla, held talks with Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez but opted to join WBA as he was born in Birmingham and had family ties there, which was the main influence on his decision.
However, he made just six appearances for the Baggies in the second half of the season after injury sidelined him for two months.
He has until November 20 to respond to the charge. If found guilty he could be fined or even suspended, depending on the severity of the breach.