Football - Liverpool FC: PEPE REINA has urged co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to ensure a swift sale of the club to aid Liverpool’s hopes of recovery next season.
The ongoing problems both on and off the field at Anfield were brought into sharp focus during the past few days with the release of the latest accounts and the conclusion of the Premier League campaign.
It emerged on Friday that Liverpool had posted a record pre-tax loss of £54.9million for the year 2008-09 while the debt of the club’s parent company Kop Holdings had risen to £351m.
The goalless draw at Hull City that followed two days later consigned Rafael Benitez’s side to seventh place – the Anfield outfit’s lowest league finish since 1999 – and a July start to their Europa League challenge next season.
Benitez, who expressed his desire to stay at Liverpool given the right reassurances, will meet with new chairman Martin Broughton again this week to discuss the direction of the club.
Liverpool’s poor showing has underlined the need for squad strengthening, with Benitez keen for significant funds to be released ahead of the summer transfer window.
Broughton hopes the club will be sold “in a matter of months” and a concerned Reina admits the ownership situation must be resolved as soon as possible.
“Of course we worry,” said the goalkeeper. “It is a little bit of a concern and we need to sort out these kind of things, like the sale of the club and the thing with the owners.
“Once we settle all this then we can begin to look forward and improve the squad.
“It is vital we have a quick sale of the club. It would be simple as it would mean we could start planning for next season earlier.
“All that I would ask is that if it is going to happen, then it happens as soon as possible to help the club itself.”
Reina added: “It has been a really disappointing season. The only thing we can do is look forward and try to improve and build a competitive squad.
“We need to spend some money on the squad to be competitive again so we can fight for a place in the top four.
“How many players do we need? I don’t know. It is not about quantity, it is about quality. We don’t want to bring anyone in just for the sake of bringing.
“It is not cheap but I am sure that the manager and his technical staff will be working hard to change that.”
Despite the boardroom distractions, Reina admits the buck ultimately rests with Liverpool’s players for their campaign of chronic underachievement.
“We cannot avoid our responsibilities,” he said. “We are the ones who play, so there is no excuses about that. Of course it did not help all the issues with owners and the situations with the ups and downs with the money. But we are just players and we have to play.
“It is up to us to show our quality on the pitch. We have tried to give our best all the time but clearly we didn’t get to the levels that we should have done this year. We have got to improve massively next season.”
At least the season ended on a positive personal note for Reina, whose clean sheet at Hull was his 18th of the top-flight campaign and means he shares the Barclays Golden Gloves award with Chelsea’s Petr Cech.
“It was all down to the lads in front of me,” said the Spain international, who along with Fernando Torres was yesterday included in Spain’s 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa.
“I am really thankful for that. In the second half of the season, we defended really well. Thanks to them it is always nice to be able to win this kind of trophy.”
One signing that Liverpool are on the brink of completing is that of teenage centre-back Danny Wilson from Glasgow Rangers. The 18-year-old, who was named Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year and Scottish FWA Young Player of the Year, is expected to undergo a medical at Melwood in the next 24 hours ahead of a switch to Anfield.