Merseyside Police are carrying out an investigation after footage showed a burning flare causing damage to the Dixie Dean statue outside Everton's Goodison Park stadium.
The statue of the former Everton striker, who died at the age of 73 in 1980, holds great sentimental value to the club's supporters, who often use it as a place to lay tributes for other supporters who have recently passed away.
Footage circulating on social media appeared to show a flare caught in the arm of the statue, provoking outrage from many of the club's supporters.
"We are aware of footage showing a flare at the Dixie Dean statue outside Goodison Park," Merseyside Police said in a statement on Monday.
"The footage appears to show a flare on the statue on Spellow Lane, and enquiries are ongoing to establish the exact circumstances."
Everton released a statement on Monday night saying they are assisting Merseyside Police with the enquiries.
It read: "We encourage anyone with information relating to this disappointing and disrespectful incident to contact Merseyside Police.
"Following inspection - and cleaning of the memorial and the site - we can thankfully confirm no permanent damage has been done to the statue of our greatest-ever goalscorer - or the floral tributes laid at the foot of the statue."
Merseyside Police acting chief inspector Robert Ross added: "I would urge anyone who knows who is responsible for putting a flare on the Dixie Dean statue, a focal point for so many people at times of celebration and grief, to contact us."
Dean's granddaughter Melanie Prentice, who is the director of the city centre hotel which bears his name, wrote to Everton appearing to insinuate that a supporter of local rivals Liverpool was responsible for the incident.
"We are disappointed, saddened and quite frankly a little puzzled as to why somebody should choose to desecrate the statue of Grandad in such a manner," Prentice said.
"The perpetrators are clearly not aware of the warm, friendly and cordial relationship my grandad enjoyed with Liverpool legend Bill Shankly. Or that my grandad's statue is a place where relatives lay flowers for those who have recently passed away. It is inappropriate and entirely unnecessary."