Benitez: We will not sell Torres
Rafael Benitez will quit as Liverpool boss if star striker Fernando Torres is sold against his will.
The club's well-publicised debts have led to questions about whether owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett would be tempted should a big-money offer come in for the Spain striker. But Benitez told The Times the 25-year-old would not be sold. "I'm confident it will never happen," he said. "If it did, I'd resign."
The financial situation at Liverpool means they struggle to compete with their Premier League big-four rivals in the transfer market. And Benitez admitted the situation had led him to make some mistakes.
"When we have spent big, normally it's been very good business," he said. "Torres, (Javier) Mascherano, (Pepe) Reina, (Xabi) Alonso. (Robbie) Keane is a good player but we had to sell him because he was not playing at the level we knew he could play. Ryan (Babel) was signed for the future and we are waiting for his improvement. He has to be more consistent.
"With the fringe players, we needed to take a gamble on Bosmans and one, two million-pound players. Some of these players have not been good enough for us. It is a risk you have to accept when there is not too much money about."
Benitez defended the signing of midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who was bought for £17 million from Roma to replace Alonso after the Spain international joined Real Madrid in the summer, but is only now reaching fitness after injury problems. "We can only buy one or two big, £20 million players a year," Benitez said.
"If we want to have money available then we have to sell some players. We have to sell expensive and buy as cheaply as possible. Aquilani fit would be £20-30 million. We checked with doctors and they said he would be out one, maybe two months. We have lost some time, but I signed the player for five years, not five weeks."
With Liverpool seventh in the table having lost five league games already this season, many are ruling them out of the title race, while some even feel they will struggle to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next term. "People are worried," Benitez said. "But the team will improve. When we have key players on the pitch we are as good as anyone. We have proved this in the past."