Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group have admitted they underestimated how poor the playing squad was when they invested in the Merseyside club in 2010.
The American backers, led by John Henry, also added that Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina were “beyond their primes” when they arrived.
Torres was sold to Chelsea for £50 million in January 2011 and nobody could have predicted the Spanish striker’s demise following his move to Stamford Bridge.
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FSG, who have come under fire for hiking ticket prices at Anfield, were giving evidence in a long-running court case regarding the sale of Liverpool in October 2010.
In Henry’s place, the group’s one-time advisor Edward Weiss answered questions.
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FSG have invested hundreds of millions of pounds into Liverpool’s squad without too much return on their funding. Since their takeover, the club have won the League Cup and are on to their fourth manager.
And Weiss admitted that Henry expected more talent when he bought the club.
He said, via the Liverpool Echo: “We ended up losing quite a bit of money in our first couple of years and we had to make even more considerable investment in the playing squad than we had estimated as we went through the bidding process.
“So, you know, like trying to catch a knife falling off the table, you’re not sure where before it’s hit the ground you’ve caught it.
“You know, I think we underestimated how poor the playing quality of the squad was, and frankly, we underestimated how difficult it was going to be to stabilise the asset.
“We were overconfident in assuming that many of the things that we had done in Boston at Fenway would translate naturally to the Premier League and they just didn’t all translate.”
FSG watched Liverpool lose 2-0 to Everton in their first game in charge, a result that left them 19th in the table. It was at that point that the group realised Liverpool’s squad needed considerable improvement.
“I mean, we obviously did some due diligence on the playing squad during this process before we closed on the transaction in the middle of October of 2010,” Weiss added.
“What we came to know was that the playing squad was poor. We were sitting at the time we closed on the transaction for the club in 17th place is my recollection which is one spot above the relegation line.
Beyond their primes
“And while we had a few top players like Steven Gerrard, other players like Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina were probably beyond their primes, and Javier Mascherano was not even on the team.”
Torres was only 26-years-old at the time of FSG’s arrival, but experts suggest a player doesn’t hit his peak until the age of 27.
Although, considering his fortunes at Chelsea and later on loan at AC Milan and Atletico Madrid, FSG certainly aren’t regretting their decision to sell.