UPDATE: Liverpool Football Club apologises to Norwich City midfielder Tom Adeyemi who suffered alleged racial abuse at Anfield

Liverpool Football Club has issued an apology to Norwich City midfielder Tom Adeyemi who was allegedly racially abused at Anfield on Friday night.

The Merseyside club offered its 'sincere regret' to the 20-year-old, who is currently on loan at Oldham, for the distress caused when he was targeted by a fan sitting on The Kop during the latter stages of Liverpools's FA Cup third-round tie with the Greater Manchester-based club.

Liverpool's statement read: 'Whatever the outcome of what is now a police investigation, all of us are deeply sorry for what happened on Friday night and our players and our Club pass on our sincere regrets to Tom Adeyemi for the upset and distress he suffered as a result of the matter at hand.

'Regarding the incident that occurred on Friday evening, we have given Merseyside police every possible assistance we can and will continue to provide the necessary support to their investigation in order to ensure this particular incident is dealt with properly.

'We will continue to take the strongest possible action(s) against unacceptable behaviour during our matches.' It was an incident that once again shocked the world of football and the wider community. – And last night as police probed the incident involving Norwich City midfielder Tom Adeyemi, politicians, footballers and even his former headteacher rallied to his support.

The Norwich-born youngster was in tears after something was shouted from the Kop stand at Anfield in Oldham's 5-1 FA Cup defeat to Liverpool.

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Merseyside police immediately launched an investigation as pictures were flashed around the world of the 20-year-old being comforted by Liverpool players Dirk Kuyt and Steven Gerrard.

Over the weekend the Pink Un's message board was flooded with support for Adeyemi while high-profile names discussed the incident on social networking site Twitter.

Former Norwich star Paul McVeigh said on Twitter: 'It couldn't be more inappropriate as he's the nicest kid in football.'

North Norfolk MP Noman Lamb tweeted: 'Dreadful what happened to Adeyemi. That's why all clubs including Liverpool must be clear they won't tolerate racism.'

Adeyemi is not only known for his skills on the football pitch but is also recognised for his academic prowess.

He gained two A* A-levels in biology and chemistry and an A in mathematics during his time at Norwich School and turned down an unconditional offer from Cambridge University to pursue his football career.

His former headteacher Jim Hawkins, who left Norwich School to become head of Harrow School last summer, said: 'My memory of Tom is of a very popular and sincere young man who made an excellent contribution to his school.

'Tom must have been very upset by what he heard to react as he did. Norwich is not the most ethnically diverse of cities but race was certainly never an issue at school for Tom at all.

'This was clearly something that upset him greatly as he is not the sort of person to seek attention.'

City's chief executive, David McNally, posted on his Twitter account: 'Will pass on your support for Tom. He is ok. LFC have assured us that the awful incident will be fully investigated.'

Norwich City boss Paul Lambert said he spoke to Adeyemi after the game and said he was 'okay'.

He said: 'I'm sure Liverpool Football Club will do it properly and investigate what's happened. I can't comment on the whole thing or what's actually happened but the most important thing is Tom is okay.

'He is only a kid learning the game and one of the nicest lads you'll ever meet, a really intelligent lad. I'm sure Liverpool Football Club and the good people up there will investigate and deal with it accordingly. The main concern for me was that he was okay.'

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, also said he had spoken to Adeyemi about the incident.

A 20-year-old man from Aintree was arrested on suspicion of racial abuse on Saturday and was yesterday released on bail pending further inquiries.

The incident comes as Liverpool striker Luis Suarez sees out an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Liverpool Football Club issued a statement in relation to the Adeyemi incident saying it took the matter 'extremely seriously' and had provided the police with CCTV coverage and photographs, along with statements from club stewards.

Adeyemi has played 24 games for Oldham so far this season, scoring three times, and just last week had his loan extended with the Latics until the end of January.

Have you got a story for the Evening News? Call reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.