None of the 52,000 spectators who watched Liverpool take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on 11 March would have guessed it would be several months before another professional football match involving an English top-flight team would be played.

The English Premier League attracts huge television audiences across the globe and is often described as one of the UK’s greatest cultural exports. But the COVID-19 pandemic has seen professional sport grind to a halt, and many of England’s biggest football clubs find themselves unable to generate revenue and at risk of exhausting their cash reserves in a matter of weeks.

How did they get to this stage, and what has COVID-19 revealed about the frailties at the heart of football finance?