As Saul Goodman would say, 'lawyer up'.

And that is exactly what the three clubs who refuse to abandon the idea of a European Super League have done after hiring a legal team led by the man who changed the face of football as we know it back in the 1990s.

While Liverpool may have rowed back on their involvement in the ESL plot almost as soon as their horrendously misguided approach to it had been revealed back in April, resulting in a rather awkward video apology from principal owner John W. Henry, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus remain espoused to the self-interested idea that in order for the established to remain there needed to be more freedom for them to punch their own ticket.

The ESL, which would have been backed by a near £3bn financial package from US investment bank JP Morgan Chase, would have seen the burning fires that some of European football's biggest clubs have been dealing with due to the financial impact of the pandemic, have some cold water poured over them.

For the likes of Barcelona, nearly £1bn in debt and with a significant chunk of that due in the short term, the £300m welcome payment that some of the founding clubs would have been in receipt of would have gone a long way to helping them meet their obligations and preserve the veneer of the glittering empire of the Nou Camp club. But with that no longer an option a £430m refinancing package has had to be agreed with Goldman Sachs to help them pay their debt.

While Liverpool and eight others returned to UEFA and pleaded for forgiveness, Barca, Real and Juve are now locked in a bitter battle with European football's governing body, one that has seen UEFA threaten the dissident trio with competitive sanctions that include banning them from the Champions League.

The Champions League is, as Liverpool know well, a hugely lucrative revenue stream that is vital for the biggest clubs in terms of keeping the balance sheet healthy and being able to offer the best players the ability to play on the greatest stage that European club competition can offer. And with all that at stake there was little chance that the Real's Florentino Perez, Barca's Joan Laporta and Juve's Andrea Agnelli were going to give that up without a fight.

And they haven't.

The three clubs, according to the Daily Mail, have hired Jean-Louis Dupont, the Belgian lawyer who was a key part of the legal team that won the landmark Bosman Ruling for Jean-Marc Bosman in 1995, a decision that changed forever the way that players could move between clubs when their contract expired, allowing for free movement.

Must-read Liverpool FC news

Dupont and his colleague Martin Hissel have been instructed by the three clubs to fight UEFA's bid to take punitive action and have already landed success.

Last week the Swiss Ministry wrote to UEFA and FIFA, organisations who they have power over given their Swiss headquarters, informing them that they do not have the capacity to retaliate against the rebel clubs and argue that they are, according to AS, 'restricting innovation, preventing other formats, eliminating competition and limiting consumer’s choice by opposing alternatives to their own competitions'.

That decision followed on from a court ruling in Madrid back in April, just hours after the ESL plans were revealed to the world, that UEFA would not be able to block the launch of the ESL, nor would it be able to impose sanctions until such time that the case had been fully heard.

One of the key arguments from the three clubs, one that has been referred to the European Union Court of Justice, is to decide whether or not UEFA and FIFA should be allowed to have such power and control over broadcasting and commercial rights and whether that it goes against competition rules set in EU law.

Get all the latest Liverpool breaking news, team news, transfer rumours, injury updates plus analysis of what's next for the Reds.

You'll also get the latest transfer talk and analysis every day for FREE!

Sign up here - it only takes a few seconds!

But the decision that Dupont and Hissel managed to get for the rebel clubs means that there is an expectation that they will be involved in Champions League football next season, the ban on competitive sanctions meaning that the fight will continue to rumble on.

UEFA, who had appeared to have scored a big win in getting the ESL plot halted and nine of the clubs to come back on board, won't want to lose face and for Real, Barca and Juve to ride roughshod over the traditions of European football. But they will know that a large slice of the Champions League's global appeal is predicated on having the three clubs as part of the competition.

For now, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is refusing to back down.

He told Rai Sport: "I have not gone into the specifics of the competences of our disciplinary commission, but obviously the input is to resolve the issue with the courts. As I see it, it is not a definitive stop: first we clarify the legal matters, then we move on."