Liverpool have decided not to formally accept the £156m takeover bid from Dubai International Capital (DIC).
It is a turnaround from what had been expected and comes after a board meeting on Tuesday evening, casting doubt on the proposed buy-out.
Liverpool now appear to want more time to consider a revised offer from George Gillett, the owner of Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team.
A final decision is expected to be made by the end of the week.
DIC has completed due diligence and wants to make its formal bid, via the Stock Exchange, for Liverpool chairman and owner David Moores' 51.6% majority shareholding early next week.
It believes Moores was in favour of a bid which would have given him £80m at £4,500 a share.
Gillett's original offer had been rejected before Christmas, but last week he submitted a new offer by letter to Moores which upped the bid to give Moores £88m for his holding.