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Jan 17, 2013

Liverpool emphasise Henry's commitment

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has stressed that principal owner John Henry is fully committed to the club despite not having attended Anfield this season.

Ayre told Liverpool fans they should not read much into the fact that Henry, who heads Fenway Sports Group, has yet to come to a game in the current campaign.

He said other commitments, including Henry's family and Fenway's Boston Red Sox baseball team, were behind his absence, and pointed out that his business partner Tom Werner, the Liverpool chairman, has been present at some matches.

"I wouldn't read anything into John not being here,'' he said. "Firstly he has had lot of work to do on the Boston Red Sox this year - they are approaching their pre-season now - and secondly he has also become a father again quite recently.

"I speak to John very regularly, and he's really pleased with the way things are going with the team. I know he keeps in contact with [manager] Brendan [Rodgers] regularly. I'm sure we will see him here soon."

He said Henry's commitment to the Merseyside club "isn't about him being at games", adding: "It's about him being involved and committed and being supportive."

After the £12 million signing of striker Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea, Ayre said more new faces would be on the way.

"There's still work to do, but we're certainly pleased that we're progressing,'' he told the Liverpool Echo. "We will keep investing and adding to the group.''

But he said new signings would have to be prepared to sign deals that rewarded them for success rather than offering huge salaries.

"Our view has to be that people are rewarded for contributing towards what we achieve," he explained.

"As long as contracts are structured in that way, then everyone wins. If a player performs, then he will be rewarded. That's the philosophy of the contracts we are offering."

The managing director said progress was also being made on the redevelopment of Anfield, with Liverpool having decided to stay at their historic home rather than - as had previously been planned - looking to build a new stadium.

A planning application for the £150 million project is expected to be submitted within the next few months, and Ayre added: "Certainly in terms of milestones that we set ourselves, we are on track."

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