So, do you remember the part where Hicks and Gillett were terrible owners who loaded the club with debt and had fans fearing relegation as little as six months ago? Turns out they managed to lose the club £20M in their final full year in charge despite overall revenue growth, that Champions League payouts (though not gate revenue, obviously) are included in the finances of the year following competition, and that the club made in the neighbourhood of £20-25M on the transfer market in their final year in charge. Now imagine what the club's finances would look like if it was still strapped to their debt without any lingering Champions League money and without as many highly valued playing "assets" to clear out while attendance dipped and Liverpool headed down the table with Purslow and Hodgson in charge.
If there's still any question about just what kind of financial hell the former owners put the club in, or what John Henry and FSG saved it from, the answers are right there in last year's numbers as they begin to be released...
* Late yesterday, Guillem Balague--who's usually in the know when it comes to Spaniards in the EPL--popped up with some genuinely huge news for Liverpool fans to feel good about: Pepe Reina is staying. No ifs, ands, or buts. He's bought into Daglish, bought into the new ownership, and bought into the club having a future regardless of whether they manage to stay ahead of Tottenham in the table and get back into Europe next season. This would seem to confirm the things Reina has been saying for the past few weeks about feeling reinvigorated at the club and talking about goals for next season as though his presence is a given. Still, it's nice to have something like official confirmation from somebody who by all accounts would be getting this information directly from the goalkeeper's mouth.
Along with that bit of uplifting information, Balague also suggested that Liverpool's summer plans involved trying to bring in a left back, center back, a pair of new wingers, and central midfielder to bolster the squad's ability to compete at the highest level on multiple fronts next season.
* Speaking of the squad and its future, Maxi Rodriguez recently talked about where he sees his future with the club. While his recent run of form has improved views as to his potential long term utility as a valuable squad player who could help to cover a number of positions, that has then lead to questions about whether he would be happy continuing in such a fringe role as the club moves forward and looks to improve both quality and depth. As if he could read your mind, he went right ahead and answered that very question:
I can only talk about myself in terms of the fringe players having confidence, but I have always trusted in my condition and in my abilities. and the manager knows that I am ready to play whenever he calls on me.
Whether I play or not does not matter. The team is the most important thing.
I'd say that just about covers it. Realistically, Maxi likely knows that at this stage in his career he's unlikely to start every week for a side in the hunt for trophies in a major European league, and faced with the option of perhaps regularly starting for a mid-table Spanish or Italian outfit unlikely to challenge for anything or sticking in a place he's settled where he will likely still get a fair bit of action spread between various cup competitions and covering for injuries and exhaustion in the league, he's chosen the later. And that confirms he's just the sort of useful veteran player every side wanting to challenge on multiple fronts needs a few of, the sort who won't complain and can come in to make a difference when he's needed--and who has shown he doesn't need to have played every week to maintain a reasonable level of sharpness. Just looking at the squads of this year's Champions League finalists, Barcelona and Manchester United, confirms the truth behind this, and it's hard to imagine Liverpool could find itself a better squad option than Maxi for the £4-5M he might bring in on the transfer market.
* Meanwhile, since it's hard for me to say anything about Lucas Leiva at this point without sounding a bit like a broken record, today I'll just point to LFCtv editor Jimmy Rice's offering over on The Kop about the importance of Lucas:
Kenny Dalglish hasn't needed any convincing and in March the former Gremio man was pictured shaking hands with Director of Football Damien Comolli after penning a new long-term deal.
His form has also earned him a role in Brazil's last six internationals under Mano Menezes.
Still not convinced? Then don't just take my word for how important Lucas has been during 2010-11. Asked by a group of Chinese journalists last week to name his LFC Player of the Season, club captain Steven Gerrard replied in one unequivocal word.
"Lucas," he said.
Well, there you go. Hard to argue with the captain on this one.
That about does it for today's shockingly upbeat news and notes, so wherever you are, enjoy the rest of your day, and in the meantime...