Liverpool chief gives under-fire Houllier vote of confidence

LONDON: Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry on Wednesday gave under-fire manager Gerard Houllier a vote of confidence and pledged that there will be no sale of the club's players, even if they do not clinch a Champions League spot next season. 

The current crisis at Leeds has raised fears that Liverpool, who face a tough battle to clinch one of England's four spots in the Champions League next season, could end up on a similar downward spiral. 

Leeds have been forced to offload six top players – Rio Ferdinand, Jonathan Woodgate, Robbie Fowler, Lee Bowyer, Robbie Keane and Olivier Dacourt – since the summer to satisfy creditors after sparing no expense in building a squad capable of competing alongside Europe's top flight. 

Beleaguered Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has estimated the cost of the club's failure to make the Champions League for the last two seasons at a massive £30 million. 

But Parry insisted Liverpool were managing their accounts well enough to be able to avoid finding themselves in a position where drastic financial measures were necessary. 

“What has been seen is what can go wrong for clubs, and it is something you have to be mindful of, but we are pleased with the course we are set on and are confident that, from a business point of view, we are going in the right direction.” 

The man responsible for the Anfield club's bottom line also dismissed suggestions that Liverpool were considering ditching Houllier this summer because of the club's dramatic slump at the end of last year. 

“The suggestion is complete and utter nonsense,” Parry insisted. “It would be crazy to even contemplate and, yes, the fact that it creeps up repeatedly is an irritant.” 

Parry was speaking as Liverpool announced a new six-year sponsorship deal with sportswear giant Reebok, which could be worth more than £100 million (150m euros). 

He said: “We unveiled a healthy profit for the previous 12 months, we are not spending beyond our means, we have not got unmanageable debts by any stretch of the imagination, so we are comfortable with the direction we are going in.” – AFP  

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