Liverpool and Everton fans streaming live football via Kodi boxes could face harsh penalties.

The Premier League is moving to protect the lucrative broadcasting rights with Sky and BT Sport.

An anti-piracy software task force is being launched and is aiming square at the open-source streaming tool.

Kodi has given thousands of Brits the a tool for watching illegal streams of Premier League matches every weekend .

And, understandably, bosses at football鈥檚 top level aren鈥檛 happy about it.

They鈥檙e worried about punters sidestepping the likes of Sky and BT Sport who each pay billions for the rights to broadcast the matches.

It鈥檚 also a huge revenue earner for the clubs, with Liverpool for example earning £90million in the 2015/16 season from TV revenue.

And, with bidding for next season鈥檚 broadcasting rights on the horizon, the Premier League is partnering up with internet service providers (ISPs) to try and stop the spread of so-called 鈥淜odi boxes鈥?around the country.

鈥淭he Premier League is currently engaged in its largest ever anti-piracy campaign to protect its copyright,?a Premier League spokesman told the Guardian .

This campaign includes raids across the north-west in which five people were arrested for selling the boxes. And during April, Judge Richard Arnold granted a high court order for ISPs to block access to online servers.

Steve Gerrard kisses a steadicam during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford
Steve Gerrard kisses a steadicam during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford

The four biggest providers in the UK: Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media will now be able to block entire servers that host illegal streams. The idea is to limit the 鈥渨hack-a-mole鈥?mentality of trying to individually block streams as they appear.

鈥淟ike other sports and creative industries our model is predicated on the ability to market and sell rights and protect our intellectual property,?the Premier League spokesperson said.

鈥淚t is because of this that clubs can invest in and develop talented players, build world-class stadiums, support the English football pyramid and schools and communities across the country ?all things that fans enjoy and wider society benefits from.?/p>

Many have praised the rise of services such as Kodi, saying the cost of watching live sport on TV has become too expensive.

Joining Sky TV and paying for the sports package currently sits at £24.75 a month - or £297 over the course of a year. By contrast, self-styled Kodi boxes with the required illegal streams pre-loaded are being sold online for as little as £30.

Kodi maintains that it is a free, open-source piece of software that has nothing to do with the streaming channels that pass through it. Many are completely legal and justified.

鈥淚f we were to shut down third-party add-ons entirely in the next version of Kodi, our open source licence means that anyone could fork our software and easily re-enable those add-ons immediately,?the company鈥檚 Nate Belzen told the Guardian.

鈥淣ow that the software is there, it simply can鈥檛 go away.?/p>

According to a recent survey commissioned by the security firm Irdeto, one in ten Brits who admit to watching pirated content say they use a Kodi box to do so .

Irdeto鈥檚 research revealed that live sports was not the most popular type of pirated video content on Kodi - with movies and TV series topping of the list.

The only countries that indicated that live sports was the type of pirated video content they were most interested in were Portugal (25%), Egypt (23%) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (19%).