Purslow: Reds stars will stay

LIVERPOOL chief executive Christian Purslow last night pledged the club will not sell on their star players despite the financial restrictions currently in place at Anfield.

Manager Rafael Benitez had little money to spend in the winter transfer window to bolster a squad which has had a disappointing first half of the season.

It is unlikely US co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will be able to provide substantial funds in the summer as they try to manage the £350million (€400 million) loan they took on when they bought the club three years ago.

With the planned building of a new stadium having stalled because of the global recession, further outside investment is crucial to kick-start the club’s fortunes. But the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard will not be sacrificed if the finances start to pinch. “We are not a selling club, absolutely not,” said Purslow. “Liverpool is one of the big four clubs in the world. We pay salaries and transfers at the level of the top four in this league and that is the sporting level I hope to maintain.

“Our problem is we do not have two first XIs, as other clubs do. We do not have that financial capacity.”

A new stadium is pivotal to all Liverpool want to achieve as it will double their income, but Purslow admits without funding from a new investor, the owners’ hands are tied.

“Without investment, there is no new stadium,” he told Spanish newspaper AS.

However, if investment can’t be found, Purslow, who describes himself as “a specialist in taking financially-troubled companies forward”, is confident other solutions will be found.

“Without investment, we’ll continue as we are,” he said.

“This is our Plan B: run the club in the most responsible way. We generate a healthy profit and fulfil our obligations, while remaining sufficiently competitive in the market and the wages we pay. We satisfy (UEFA president) Michel Platini’s criteria for participation in European competition.

“We will be in the Champions League (next year), for sure,” Purslow said, adding that he was not worried by speculation linking Benitez with Juventus. “It is normal big clubs are interested in Rafa. We have not considered a future without Benitez.”

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