Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has warned the club's current - and prospective future - owners that without major investment they cannot continue to survive on their reputation alone.
While the likes of Manchester City, in particular, Aston Villa and Tottenham are likely to spend heavily in the coming months Liverpool face another summer of uncertainty. They are the outsiders in the battle for the fourth Champions League spot and without money to bolster their squad the Reds are at risk of falling further off the pace
"At this moment the club has a big name and a big history and everyone is expecting us to be at the top," said Benitez, whose side lost their Europa League semi-final tie with Atletico Madrid on Thursday night. "But in reality we don't have enough money so we have to manage the expectation."
Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett officially put Liverpool up for sale a fortnight ago having admitted they had taken the club as far as they could.
The problem is, with £237million of debt, a new stadium to build and Benitez wanting a summer transfer budget of £70million, any new owner will have to have find something in the region of £600million just to even get things back on track.
And with the American owners holding out for the best possible price, although the £800million suggested by Hicks is a long way from a realistic valuation, the danger is Liverpool will by hamstrung by inertia while their rivals are making big plans.
When senior players start calling for a raft of new signings it becomes obvious there is concern about the future in the dressing room.
"Jamie Carragher and Fernando Torres were talking about needing between three and five players and I agree with them,'' said Benitez, who continues to be linked with an end-of-season exit to Juventus. We will need those to have a stronger team.
"When I was asked about this I didn't say how much but a top-class player is around #15million so you can do the numbers - but it depends on the investors.''
When asked if he had been given any indication there would be money available for rebuilding Benitez replied with a blunt: "No."
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