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Feb, 5, 2011

Henry: Carroll was a 'hell of a deal'

John W Henry has explained Liverpool's decision to spend a British record transfer fee on Andy Carroll, revealing he strictly stipulated that the Reds pay £15 million less than they received for Fernando Torres.

• Henry praises Dalglish and Anfield
• Carroll: I'll justify price tag
• Torres couldn't wait for Reds revival
• Chelsea v Liverpool: Preview
• Rafa: Torres could have cost £70m
• Luis Suarez interview

Liverpool have come in for criticism after lavishing £35million on Newcastle to bring the unproven Carroll to Anfield but Henry said the size of the fee was not a concern as it was always factored in to negotiations with Chelsea.

"The fee for Torres was dependent on what Newcastle asked for Carroll,'' Henry told the Guardian, explaining they simply wanted a difference of £15million.

"The negotiation for us was simply the difference in prices paid by Chelsea and to Newcastle. Those prices could have been £35million [from Chelsea for Torres] and £20million [to Newcastle for Carroll], 40 and 25 or 50 and 35. It was ultimately up to Newcastle how much this was all going to cost. They [Newcastle] made a hell of a deal. We felt the same way.''

With Ryan Babel moving to Hoffenheim for £6million, the difference on the Carroll deal allowed Liverpool to pay for the £22.8million arrival of Luis Suarez from Ajax. However, Henry expressed surprise Chelsea were willing to go as high as £50million, questioning whether Roman Abramovich's club could meet UEFA's new financial fair-play rules.

"I was surprised Monday morning to receive an offer [from Chelsea for Fernando Torres] in that amount [£50million] at the same time they were announcing such large losses [£71million for 2009-10],'' Henry said.

"The big question is just how effective the financial fair-play rules are going to be. Perhaps some clubs support the concept in order to limit the spending of other clubs, while implementing activities specifically designed to evade the rules they publicly support. We can only hope that UEFA has the ability and determination to enforce what they have proposed.''

For Liverpool's part, Henry pledged to live well within the rules.

"We've always spent money we've generated rather than deficit-spending and that will be the case in Liverpool,'' he said, talking about the way in which his Fenway Sports Group operate the Boston Red Sox baseball team. "It's up to us to generate enough revenue to be successful over the long term. We have not and will not deviate from that.''

Henry also endorsed caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish, without confirming he would be offered the job on a permanent basis.

"We didn't know Kenny well prior to him coming aboard as manager,'' Henry said. "But he has exceeded our expectations on all fronts. It would be inappropriate to comment publicly on what happens beyond the end of this season.''

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