If Liverpool followers thought that Tom Hicks' latest business deal may have seen some much needed funds trickling their way into the Anfield bank account then Rafa Benitez moved quickly to scotch those hopes yesterday.
Hicks Sports Group has sold Texas Rangers, the Liverpool co-owners Major League Baseball side, for the sum of $500m to a consortium headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and Rangers president Nolan Ryan but the bucks, according to Benitez, will stop there.
“I don't think so, it is another company,” Benitez said when asked what the potential was for some spending money. “We are now run like a company and so that (Texas Rangers) is a different thing.”
The modern Premier League manager has to consider spreadsheets as well as cleansheets and Benitez underlined exactly how involved he now is with the business and financial considerations at Liverpool.
“The majority of clubs are now run like companies,” he added. “You have to think about football and business, both things together. This year we have done a fantastic job trying to balance the books and to do the right job for the company. In football, we had to take some risks and we have to improve now on the pitch. If people can see the club is healthy, it'll be easier to bring in investors. It has to be like this, because there is an economic crisis around the world. You can't be spending and spending when there's no money.”
For tonight's encounter with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Benitez will still be without Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio and Yossi Benayoun but their ailments will matter little to Liverpool's fans after hearing that talisman Steven Gerrard will return. He suffered a hamstring injury in the FA Cup exit to Reading on January 13 but is expected to be available for the Molineux match.
“Sometimes a player is available and is not fully fit but has to play as he is very important,” Benitez said. “He knows he has to improve and wants to do it, and a full week's training will make things better for him.”