Henry faces up to 'real challenge'

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Football News

New Liverpool owner John Henry admits there is a "real challenge" ahead but plans to start work on a strategy for improvement.

New England Sports Ventures, of which Henry is head, completed their protracted £300million takeover on Friday. Henry has had plenty of time to make an assessment of the situation at Anfield as a sale was agreed 10 days ago but has been the subject of numerous court disputes by former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

"We're going to have to work very hard," said Henry.

"There's a lot of work to be done to get this club to where it needs to be in the grand scheme of things. We really, through all the work we've done over the last two months, saw the challenges and problems which exist and we've got to work to address those.

"There is a great nucleus here off the field and on the field and we think we can build from that, but it's not going to be easy.

"We've got real challenges but we've got a very strong organisation, financially and otherwise, we have some terrific strategic thinkers and we're going to be attacking this head-on."

Liverpool will at least move forward as a virtually debt-free club as the takeover wiped out all the loans and costs associated with the purchase of the club three-and-a-half years ago by Hicks and Gillett. A result of those loans was the crippling interest payments of £40million a year - which are now a thing of the past.

NESV said the club's debt servicing costs would drop to between £2million-£3million annually and manager Roy Hodgson already has his eye on an expanded transfer kitty.

"The mere fact the debts are wiped off immediately puts us into a different financial position to the one we have been in," he said.

"It will mean in future we can invest in players in a different way to what has happened in the last transfer window."

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