(Reuters) - Liverpool could suffer the embarrassment of a mass exodus on Saturday with supporters' groups calling on fans to leave their seats during the home Premier League match against Sunderland to protest against a rise in ticket prices.
Two prominent groups have urged spectators to walk out in the 77th minute to express discontent at the club's decision to charge 77 pounds ($112.09) for the most expensive ticket in Anfield's redeveloped main stand next season, up from 59 pounds.
Liverpool also announced this week that some season tickets for the 2016-17 campaign would be priced at more than 1,000 pounds for the first time.
An organisation representing fans' interests has been in talks with the club over ticket prices for more than a year and expressed disappointment earlier this week at Liverpool's failure "to lead a fairer approach to ticket prices".
"LFC thinks its acceptable to make more money than ever before from supporters ... let's make sure the owners know this is unacceptable. On 77 minutes leave your seat and walk out," the supporters' group Spion Kop 1906 said in a statement on Twitter.
Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre defended the new structure and said supporters should "look at the facts" before joining the planned walkout, adding the club was "not pricing anyone out of the stadium".
Ayre told the club's website (www.liverpoolfc.com): "65 percent of season tickets (are) coming down or staying flat and 45 percent of matchday tickets (are) coming down.
"The headline seems to have focused on a 77 pounds ticket at Anfield, of which I think there are 200 for six of the top games in the best general admission seats in the house.
"I think that's the wrong thing to focus on. What you have to do is look at the facts, look right down through the spectrum of tickets we’re offering and prices we’re offering," said Ayre.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru and Ken Ferris in London; Editing by John O'Brien and Tony Jimenez)