Liverpool have issued an apology to fans based in Korea after a series of social media posts provoked outrage in the Asian country.
Prior to Saturday's Club World Cup victory over Flamengo, the Reds looked back on their previous meeting with the Brazilians, a 3-0 defeat in the Intercontinental Cup.
That game, which featured a stellar performance from Zico , took place in Japanese capital Tokyo and prompted Liverpool to light-heartedly suggest that 'revenge' was on the cards in Qatar ahead of the 2019 final.
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The club's choice of imagery, however, was poorly received in Korea.
Liverpool adorned one of their pre-match images with the Rising Sun flag, a symbol associated with the Imperial Japanese army that invaded large swathes of Asia during the Second World War.
In many Asian countries, including Korea, the flag is considered gravely offensive, with connotations similar to the Nazi swastika, and its use by the Champions League holders has led to heavy criticism from social media users.
Liverpool's Japanese Twitter account additionally released an image that aped Imperial Japanese imagery during the Second World War, with manager Jurgen Klopp cradling the Club World Cup trophy and the globe in his hands.
And after first issuing an apology targeted at Korean audiences, the Reds have now extended that message.
“Liverpool Football Club has recently published two images that some find offensive. As soon as it was brought to our attention, we took immediate action to rectify those errors and remove those images," the club noted in a statement.
"We would like to apologise to anyone who may have been offended and will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Professor Seo Kyoungduk of the Sungshin Women's University was one vocal critic of the images, slamming Liverpool's treatment of the issue.
와~ 이젠 리버풀에서 그야말로 막나가자는 거네요! . 최근 클럽 월드컵을 회상하는 상황에서, 공식 사이트에 욱일기 이미지를 올려 큰 논란을 일으켰습니다. . 이후 많은 비판이 쏟아지자 사과문을 올렸는데, 그 사과문은 한국IP에서만 확인되는 또 어처구니 없는 일도 벌였습니다. . 근데 바로 다음날 위의 사진처럼, 클럽 월드컵 우승직후 일본 계정에 올로온 욱일기 이미지를 리버풀 공식계정에서 또 좋아요를 눌럽습니다. . 이건 욱일기가 독일의 하켄크로이츠와 같은 '전범기'임을 인정안한다는 얘기이고, 단지 한국 축구팬들의 분노만 잠시 수그러트리면 된다라는 어이없는 처사입니다. . 암튼 리버풀측에 지속적인 항의도 좋지만, 이젠 그 상위 개념인 프리미어리그 사무국 및 잉글랜드 축구협회, FIFA측에 이번 리버풀의 행태를 반드시 짚고 넘어갈 계획입니다. . 또한 일본 언론쪽에서는 "한국만 또 과민반응"이라는 기사들을 게재하고 있는데 어디 한번 두고 봅시다. . 이번 리버풀의 사태와 일본 언론들의 반응을 전 세계에 널리 알려 더 시끄럽게 만드는 것이 중요합니다. . 왜냐하면 이번 일을 욱일기가 전범기임을 전 세계인들에게 더 알릴수 있는 좋은 계기로 또 삼아야 하기 때문입니다. . 아무쪼록 울 팔로워님들! 늘 함께 해 주십시요~^^ . #리버풀 #욱일기 #전범기 #전세계 #퇴치 #캠페인 #서경덕 #서경덕교수
"Liverpool is too much now... Recently there have been complaints as they posted images about the Club World Cup final with Japan's rising sun flag. They finally posted an apology statement but it was only seen in Korea, which is ridiculous," Seo fired on Instagram.
"The following day, they liked their Japanese account's post which shows Klopp with the flag image."
He added: "We should keep complaining to Liverpool, I'm going to complain to the Premier League, Football Association, and FIFA regarding Liverpool's action."