Liverpool Transfer News: Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard To Be Sold

Jack SpillerContributor IJanuary 16, 2010

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13:  Fernando Torres of Liverpool gestures to be brought off after sustaining an injury during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 3rd Round Replay match between Liverpool and Reading at Anfield on January 13, 2010 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

There are five words that every Liverpool fan fears: Liverpool sell Torres and Gerrard.

The sale of just one of their dynamic duo would devastate the Kop faithful, both leaving would be unthinkable.

While the imminent sale of these players isn't on the cards, come the end of the season it might become inevitable. The fate of the players, and Liverpool FC, could depend on qualification for the Champions League.

The prospect of not playing in Europe's top competition might be enough to convince Spaniard Torres that it's time to move on. Gerrard, however, is somewhat more committed to the Reds, but Liverpool may be forced to sell them anyway, due to their financial circumstances.

The economic situation at Liverpool FC is as common knowledge as it is daunting. The matter was highlighted when their auditors (KPMG) expressed worries about the clubs ability to continue operating as a going concern, last summer.

The problem is the owners. They financed the purchase of the club with a lone, interest from which outstrips profits from the club. This isn't the only problem they've caused either. There's been the constant reports of infighting, then, most recently, the abusive e-mail incident caused by the former director, and son of the co-owner, Tom Hicks Jr.

While the club recorded £10.2 million profit (year ending 2008), this was dwarfed by the parent company's (Kop Football Holdings) final negative balance sheet of £42.6 million in the red. £36.5 million of the loss was interest payment on their £290 million debt.

The most worrying factor is that £20.7 million of the clubs turnover was generated by their participation in the Champions League. This means that without Champions League football the club itself will be making a loss of around £10.5 million.

Even this isn't the end of the bad news though. When the co-owners refinanced their debt in the summer, the entered an agreement to draw down the loan by £60 million in a years time.

The worst case scenario is that the owners will have to find over £100 million. The only way they could do this is to sell Torres and Gerrard, most likely along with other players.

There are wheels in motion to stop this happening. Gillett and Hicks are looking to sell a 25 percent stake in the club for £100 million.

Any potential interest may well be swayed by qualification for Europe. While the buyer wouldn't be saddled with the debt of the current owners, a Liverpool FC out of the Champions League would still be making a loss.

Hopes of turning round the clubs internal finances are also being pinned on a new stadium, and the increased revenue it would generate. This is a matter that has it's own problems though, as the project would still need to be financed out of the clubs coffers.

In recent years, Liverpool fans will have watched Arsenal battle it out to make the top four. Things are different now though, in those years the Gunners only really had competition from one club (either Aston Villa or Tottenham).

This year, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Aston Villa are all strong enough to pip Liverpool to a top-four finish and might even see Liverpool not even qualify for the Europa League.

It really is "squeaky bum time" for Liverpool fans. Losing to Reading and drawing today against Stoke does not bode well.

Ultimately, I believe the talismanic Torres and Gerrard hold their own, and their club's, fate in their hands. Unfortunately they are both injured at the moment, which sadly may stand as a fitting metaphor for the great clubs crippling debt.