Liverpool have flown from Thailand to Singapore as they continued their Far East tour, amid speculation that Real Madrid had increased their bid for midfielder Alonso to £30 million (€34m).
Liverpool insist that no deal has been agreed but with Real stepping up their interest in Alonso – as well as full-back Alvaro Arbeloa – the summer long saga could be coming to a conclusion.
Torres insists that this could be the season that the title returns to Anfield.
“Two years without a trophy is a long time for a club like Liverpool, but we believe we can do it this year,” he said. “I am sure that this time we can win the Premier League or the Champions League or a big trophy like that.”
But Benitez’s build-up to the new campaign is not being helped by the constant speculation over Alonso, as well as Javier Mascherano.
On Alonso, as in Bangkok, Benitez said: “Alonso is here and as I said before, he will enjoy the weather and the fans and the journalists. He is ready and he can play (on Sunday).”
But Benitez will not be happy to discover that Madrid have again been openly talking about his players, amid suggestions that Arbeloa – with one year left on his contract – could also be on his way to the Bernabeu.
Madrid’s sport director Miguel Pardeza said yesterday: “With Arbeloa there was an option which, at the moment, has come to nothing.’’
On Alonso’s future, Pardeza said: “From day one, Liverpool have asked for more than Madrid are ready to pay and it’s very difficult to understand. But I’ve not lost hope that things can be resolved.”
Meanwhile supporters’ groups ShareLiverpoolFC and Spirit of Shankly have unveiled a revised buy-out proposal on the day the club’s owners are expected to complete the refinancing of their debt.
The fans’ organisations are unhappy with the financial structuring of Liverpool and are behind a proposal for supporters to take ownership of the club in a similar scheme to those operated by Barcelona, Real Madrid and other European clubs. The key change to the group’s original proposal is the reduction of the share price from £5,000 (€5,824) to £500 (€582). Initially they hoped to raise £500m (€582) from 100,000 fans each paying the £5,000 (€5825) ‘entry fee’.
The aim is to acquire a 60% stake in the club by raising £150m (€174m) while seeking a “commercial partner” to invest £100m (€116.5m) for a 40% stake.