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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Purslow: Reds were on the brink

Former Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow has revealed the club was one day away from administration before being sold to current owners Fenway Sports Group.

• Werner: Liverpool plan to spend
• Reds report £50m loss

Purslow, a Liverpool season ticket holder, negotiated the sale to Fenway chief John W Henry and has now cautioned against criticism of that regime's first year and a half in charge at Anfield.

A 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup final means Liverpool, who have failed in their primary aim of qualifying for next season's Champions League, have only the Carling Cup to show for Fenway's first full season in charge.

Purslow said on Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "People have short memories. It's only 15-16 months ago we were a day away from being in administration. We are now stable financially.

"It's year one of what they (Fenway) said when they bought the club would be a long journey."

Purslow was appointed by former joint owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette in June 2009 with a brief of finding new owners, and left his post shortly after Fenway completed their takeover in October 2010.

Purslow believes Fenway should be given more time, but stressed the importance of Champions League football and a move to a new stadium if Liverpool's fortunes on the pitch are to improve.

"The club has had some investment (under Fenway) and it will take time for that to work," he said. "I think everybody's disappointed with the league performance but it's year one.

"One thing I will say about American owners is the idea that there is some emotional connection is obviously rubbish. It's an investment game - Liverpool is an investment and the value of that investment will hang largely on two key planks in the strategy they would have put in place when they bought the club.

"The first was to get the team back into regular Champions League football."

Despite his backing for the new owners, Purslow revealed his disappointment the club had not made any progress towards building a new stadium.

"If I am disappointed about one thing under this new ownership is that they've got nowhere on the new stadium," he said.

Chelsea's announcement this week of plans to build a new stadium on the site of the Battersea Power Station would put them in a stronger financial position than Liverpool.

"It's critical," Purslow said. "If you look at Chelsea's news in the last few days... Arsenal have already stolen a march on us. If Chelsea get that stadium up and running then it's another team that's ahead of us in the queue."

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