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No illusions for Broughton

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Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton's belief it will take "a matter of months" to sell the club is not what manager Rafael Benitez will have wanted to hear.

The pair met for the first time on Thursday when Benitez was asked what his plans were in terms of squad building over the summer. However, whatever request the Spaniard made for funds up front is unlikely to be forthcoming as American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are looking to take as much as they can from the sale, being overseen by Broughton.

"Success for me is completing a sale within a relatively short period - a matter of months - to someone who, hindsight says, was a very good owner for Liverpool," said the Reds' chairman.

And with the latest financial results showing the Americans' debt, attributed to Liverpool's parent company Kop Holdings, had risen to £351.4million from £299.8million in the year ending July 31 2009 there appears to be little chance of a huge transfer kitty.

Interest payments on loans increased by £3.6million to £40.1million as the company made a loss before tax of £54.9million - about the same figure Benitez is looking for to allow the club to be competitive next season.

A matter of months is a long time in football, especially when it falls over a summer transfer window, and it could leave Benitez worse off than he was at the beginning of the current campaign. But Broughton insists they are planning accordingly and he welcomed Benitez's blueprint on how to take the club forward when the met for what is hoped will be the first of a series of meetings.

"It was a frank exchange of views, constructive and very helpful," he said. "The squad does need strengthening and that is an on-going process which will not be stopped by the sale.

"We have sat down with Rafa to determine what is the strength of it (the squad), what it needs, who are the right players and who needs to be sold.

"What I have asked for from Rafa is an appraisal of each of the players, where the weak links are, which players he would prefer to sell if he had the opportunity, which positions he needs to fill, who are his prime candidates and what would be his priorities."

Two of the names at the top of the not-for-sale list are striker Fernando Torres and captain Steven Gerrard. "There is absolutely no reason to sell either Torres or Gerrard," the British Airways chairman told liverpoolfc.tv. "I don't want to sell either of them. Rafa does not want to sell either of them, the club is not looking to sell them."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Fernando Torres
Steven Gerrard
Liverpool

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