Benitez holds talks over Liverpool finances

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Liverpool manager Benitez has held talks with the club's managing director about the financial implications.

Updated: November 07, 2009 17:18 IST
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Liverpool, England :

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has held talks with the club's managing director about the financial implications if it failed to reach the knockout round of the Champions League.

Liverpool has qualified from the group stage every season since Benitez took charge five years ago and won the competition in 2005. But it now risks elimination after a draw in midweek at Lyon, and could miss out on up to 10 million pounds ($16.6 million) from UEFA.

The 18-time English champions must win its final two Group E games and hope that Lyon gets at least a draw at Fiorentina in its next match.

"I spoke to (managing director) Christian Purslow the other day about the finances," Benitez said on Saturday. "The first thing, though, is that we have confidence we can still reach the last 16 of the Champions League this season, but whatever happens, the budget was done for this season based on us only qualifying for the group stages. And we did that, that is complete.

"Whether we can still bring in more money, we will wait and see. The commercial department is working very hard, for the next season (qualifying) it is a question of time."

Another pressing problem is that Liverpool could miss out on the competition next season, with the team out of the Premier League top four following a disappointing start.

Liverpool's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. are trying to raise around 100 million pounds by diluting their stakes.

Liverpool hosts Birmingham on Monday having lost three of its last four league matches.

"I am confident the team will finish in the top four and we are able to continue to do well in Europe, so let's start against Birmingham with the right result," Benitez said. "We have to do our job against Birmingham, and then I can guarantee that things will start to get easier."

That would be more likely if both Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard were fit following groin problems.

Gerrard is unlikely to be available for Monday, while Torres is likely to be risked again.

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