Sports Desk: Liverpool were accused of betraying their “morals and values” on Saturday for their move to furlough non-playing staff during the coronavirus pandemic as Premier League stars warned of a £200 million ($245 million) shortfall in government coffers if 30 percent wage cuts were introduced.

Premier League leaders Liverpool said they would top up the public money made available from the government to ensure staff on temporary leave received their full salaries.

It follows similar moves by Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich to take advantage of the scheme, under which employers can claim for 80 percent of furloughed employees’ wages.

But former Reds players Jamie Carragher and Stan Collymore strongly criticised the move by the European champions, who in February announced pre-tax profits of £42 million ($51 million) for 2018/19.

“(Manager) Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in @premierleague players taking wage cuts. Then all that respect & goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC,” tweeted Carragher.

Collymore was even more forthright, tweeting: “I don’t know of any Liverpool fan of any standing that won’t be anything other than disgusted at the club for furloughing staff.”

Another former Anfield star, Germany’s Dietmar Hamann tweeted: “Astonished by the news that @LFC takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80% of non-playing staff wages back off the government.

“That’s not what the scheme was designed for. Contrary to the morals and values of the club I got to know.”

Liverpool said staff would be paid 100 percent of their salaries to ensure nobody was financially disadvantaged.

A statement from the club said: “Even prior to the decision on staff furloughing, there was a collective commitment at senior levels of the club — on and off the pitch — with everyone working towards a solution that secures jobs for employees of the club during this unprecedented crisis.”