Stars won’t be sold, neither will club this year, says Hicks

LIVERPOOL co-owner Tom Hicks insists manager Rafael Benitez has a “substantial” transfer budget at his disposal this summer – and has vowed not to sell star assets Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

Hicks, though, says he and partner George Gillett are unlikely to sell the Anfield club any time this year, and are still holding out for a top-end price.

Hours after former chairman David Moores admitted he “hugely regrets” selling to the Americans, Hicks leapt out in defence of his ownership and made assurances to the long-suffering Reds’ fans.

“We have no intention of selling any of our top players and we have a substantial transfer budget in place,” he said.

“There’s been so much misinformation put out by people who have their own agendas and it’s unfortunate. But the truth is the club is much better off than it was three years ago.”

Of the sale of the club, Hicks added: “I think I have said £600-£800m is not an unrealistic value range, but the market’s the market. We’ll see.

“We will sell the club. We’re not going to sell it to the wrong group, we’re not going to sell it for the wrong price, we’re going to do it in a very thoughtful way.

“I don’t anticipate it will be done necessarily before the beginning of the next season. We hope it gets done by the end of the calendar year.”