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Jan 25, 2009

Kuwaiti takeover at Anfield collapsed?

Confusion reigns in Britain's newspapers over a proposed takeover of Liverpool by a Kuwaiti consortium. One report in the News of the World suggests that billionaire Nasser Al-Kharafi has pulled out of any deal, costing co-owners George Gillet and Tom Hicks, who are desperate to sell.

Hicks is said to be leading the deal but the NOTW suggests that the £500-600m price the pair want will not be met by the Arab businessman, who is only willing to pay £200m less than their asking priceg. A source close to the Kuwaiti group is quoted as sayin: "It is absolutely definite, there will be no bid from the Kharifi camp. Any interest is now over."

The Sunday Telegraph meanwhile says Al-Kharafi will make the American pair sweat over the deal as they approach the July deadline for a £350m loan taken out with RBS and Wachovia, who are both said to be unwilling to refinance the deal.

It is clear that the club is now up for sale as the owners, who bought the club in 2007 ahead of a Dubai-based purchase, seek to cut their losses on a torrid two years at Anfield. Bankers Merill Lynch are being employed by Hicks to broker the deal.

Gillet and Hicks have been at loggerheads almost since the day they breezed on to Merseyside and their latest spat is said to have arisen out of Hicks' desire to remain at the club post-sale. Gillet is keen to sell but only if Hicks goes too.

The pair may be saved by Dubai interests again emerging as a player in the battle to buy Liverpool.

Speculation is growing in the Middle East that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum may be preparing another move for the club.

The boardroom worries and cash concerns can hardly be helping the team's effort to win their first ever Premier League title.

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