Article by Giorgio Pirelli
Once again Liverpool are hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons with further speculation that star players Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are set to leave the club along with manager, Rafa Benitez.On the back of Liverpool’s consecutive 1-0 defeats to Wigan and Lille, and Real Madrid’s elimination from the Europe, speculation is mounting that Benitez will finally succumb to Madrid’s advances. Benitez has apparently already turned down three approaches to swap the soccer uniforms of Liverpool for Real Madrid over the past few seasons but with both clubs faltering badly it looks as if all parties concerned would welcome such a move. Media reports in Spain also suggest that Real Madrid are lining up a big money move for Liverpool captain who has cut a dejected figure of late as Liverpool slump once again.If this weren’t bad news enough for the Anfield faithful, Fernando Torres has come out with a thinly veiled threat to quit the club if there isn’t a cash injection soon that will finance a squad overhaul.”The really important thing is that the club make a big effort and bring in important players, who will improve the quality of the squad,” said Torres.’We need four or five top-class players to compete, who will make us grit our teeth and do everything we can to try to keep our places. Without reinforcements next year we will once again be fighting to be fourth. I want to fight next year to win the Premier League, to win the Champions League or the Europa League, but for this there have to be signings.’When questioned about his future, Torres said: ‘I have three more years on my contract. I owe Liverpool many things and I’m very happy here. The fans have treated me like one of their own, but I’m going to think about my future. The club deserve to get back to winning [trophies] but right now that is far off. The fans are worried about players leaving.’These quotes were released before a recent report that The Rhone Group, a global private equity firm with bases in London, Paris and New York have been in talks with the Reds for a number of weeks and have now put together a 5 million offer that would see them take a 40% stake in the club.A number of investors have been circling the club for some time and now that a firm bid is on the table other investors are likely to come forward and compete. According to club legend, Alan Hansen, new investment is crucial at this time if Liverpool is to avoid crisis”Whatever the outcome of the proposed investment in Liverpool, somebody has to come in and save them because it is clearly crunch time in terms of the club’s history,” said Hansen.”The mere fact that Fernando Torres chose to speak about the need for “four or five top-class” players to be signed by the club will be a worry for Liverpool supporters because, in a perfect world, he would have said nothing and simply got on with the job.””On the pitch, things are not looking great because it looks as though they are going to miss out on Champions League qualification.””To qualify, they are going to have to win 95 per cent of their remaining games this season and they don’t look capable of doing that.””If they fail, that’s when the problems could really start. I don’t know about the intentions of Torres or Steven Gerrard, but if you are in the top 100 players in the world, you want to play in the Champions League because it is the only place to be.””If Liverpool are not in the Champions League, will they accept missing out as a one-off or fear it happening season after season? Should either of them decide to leave, it would leave an enormous hole that would be impossible to fill.””So this is the problem facing whoever comes in with new investment. It is a big ask of anybody to expect them to find the money for a new ground and a new team.””It has been 20 years since Liverpool won the league. If it goes another five years and the club slip into mediocrity, then you are not only asking for trouble, you are likely to get it.””That is why the next few months are so crucial. If the new investment arrives, then the club will have to either back manager Rafael Benítez to the hilt in the summer or he will have to go. At the moment, you would have to say that the outcome of that one is 50-50.”The wearers of the most successful of all soccer uniforms in English soccer history have a chance to generate better headlines when they take on Portsmouth at Anfield later today.
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