Wednesday 17 January 2018

Americans' broken promises leave Anfield on brink of disaster

Rory Smith

THE clock is ticking. Tom Hicks, Liverpool's unpopular, indebted co-owner, promised in an email to fans eight months ago that this would be a "big" summer transfer window for a club who have spent much of the last two years operating on the tightest of budgets. He has just six days to prove he is as good as his word.

Anfield is used to broken promises from Hicks and his partner, George Gillett. The last week of the transfer window, as far as Liverpool are concerned, will bring simply a resolution to the Javier Mascherano saga -- the Argentine will not travel to Turkey today with the rest of Roy Hodgson's squad -- and perhaps one or two perfunctory additions.

Even Hicks would struggle to defend Liverpool's outlay so far this summer as "big", at least when compared to that of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United or even Arsenal.

Christian Poulsen, Brad Jones, Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Jonjo Shelvey and Danny Wilson have all arrived, for a total of £11m. Hardly a princely sum.

Perhaps, then, he was hinting at the threat of those departures which have haunted Liverpool for so long? Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard may have pledged their loyalty, but both Mascherano and Dirk Kuyt may yet leave the club.

Kuyt remains a target for his former manager, Rafael Benitez, at Inter Milan. The Italian champions are believed to be readying an improved offer for the Dutch international and Kuyt is tempted by the prospect of a reunion with Benitez.

If Manchester City are the standard-bearers of the Premier League's ambitious wannabes, Liverpool are not even treading water. The fans, of course, are familiar with the feeling. More worryingly, though, the club's players share that belief. Prime among them, of course, is Torres.

When Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow shuttled back and forth to Madrid last month to convince his crown jewel to remain, no doubt he made much of the fact that the Americans' departure was imminent. With this would come investment, funding and the calibre of team-mate Torres craves. Such a hope played a large part in convincing the Spaniard to stay. With six days left in the transfer market, that promise looks like being broken, too.

No investment will come before the close of business. If it does not arrive at all, Torres will be forced to reconsider his decision to stay. So, too, will several of his team-mates. The clock is ticking. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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