Liverpool sale claims 'categorically untrue'

Suggestions Liverpool co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are planning to sell the club have been dismissed as “categorically untrue”.

Suggestions Liverpool co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks are planning to sell the club have been dismissed as “categorically untrue”.

It was reported yesterday that Dubai International Capital – who were in line to complete a takeover 12 months ago before Gillett and Hicks gained control - were believed to be ready with another attempt to acquire a share of the club.

It had been claimed the group, backed by Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, were set to buy the American duo’s 50% stake.

DIC made no attempt to play down speculation when a spokesman said: “We do not comment on such things, we have nothing to say on this.”

However, a spokesman for Hicks dismissed the reports.

He told PA Sport: “Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett remain fully committed to the club. Any suggestion that Messrs Hicks and Gillett are contemplating a sale of the club or any portion thereof to DIC or anyone else is categorically untrue.”

Liverpool will step out on Monday for their Barclays Premier League home game with Aston Villa with their minds focused just as much on beating non-league Havant and Waterlooville five days later.

By the time the troubled Reds walk out at Anfield, they expect to be even further adrift of the top three.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all play tomorrow away to teams in the bottom half of the table – Reading, Fulham and Birmingham respectively.

So no-one would be surprised if the gap between Liverpool and the top spot is a massive 15 points by then, with the Gunners and Chelsea also pulling further away from the Anfield men.

That would even further reduce the chances of the Merseysiders making even a dramatic last-ditch bid to stay in the hunt.

However, less than a week later, Liverpool are at home to the little Hampshire club in the FA Cup fourth round, a game they surely will win to keep themselves at least with the hope of one domestic honour this term.

The future ownership of the club will still hang like a dark cloud over Anfield, and boss Rafael Benitez knows that he must keep his side in with a chance of winning something.

However, even the ever-optimistic Jamie Carragher, who made his 500th appearance for the club in the midweek cup win over Luton, knows time is up on the title bid.

He said: “We are not stupid. You never throw the towel in, but for us to get back into contention for the title we would have to have an unbelievable second half to the season.

“And the rest would have to have an unbelievably bad second half to the campaign. We realise our best chance of silverware is the cup competitions. That is why they are so important.”

Liverpool need to beat Villa to maintain their hopes of a fourth-place finish and a Champions League spot, now clearly the minimum requirement for Benitez.

Carragher insists that the players must not allow themselves to be affected by what is happening off the field at Liverpool.

He said: “You have to be strong mentally to play for Liverpool. Things happen off the pitch but you do not let it affect you.“

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