The plain facts are that Liverpool have no money and Rafa Benitez is not likely to get any assistance from the American owners this month to assist in bringing in new players. This is just a reality that Liverpool fans are having to accept over the course of this January transfer window and we just hope Rafa comes up with a few loan signings (such as Maxi Rodriguez) which will be able to reignite a season which has not gone to plan in any sense. But the question remains, are the owners missing a trick in as much that if Liverpool miss out on a Champions League, it could be more costly than giving the manager money to spend now to rectify a faltering season?
It is an interesting question to pose and one that needs some investigation. I won’t delve too much into Champions League prize money statistics but I think it’s worth mentioning a few things. By missing out on the knockout out rounds this season, Liverpool lost €14.7million of income if we assume they went all the way to winning the tournament. Potential losses of losing out on the Champions League all together next season would add up to about €22million in prize money, although a more realistic estimation of Liverpool’s income, based on reaching the knockout stages would see them lose an estimated €7.6million in prize money, € 8.5million in ticket sales and €9.5million on commercial advertising.
These estimations are based on research done by the Champions League’s Official Sponsor Mastercard during last season’s campaign and are a pretty reliable source to base this article on. This suggests that 25million is at stake, not including bonuses for winning or drawing group stage matches which are €600,000 and €300,000 respectively, and the market pool for TV rights which takes up an estimated quarter of all income for clubs in the Champions League.
Such stats show the real consequences of losing out on a Champions League place, €25million is a lot of money to lose and the owners might have wanted to consider this a bit more before not giving Benitez any more money during the January transfer window. There is of course a very likely prospect that due to the debt on the club, the owners were not in a position to give the manager any money at all but it may have been well worth the risk to give Benitez at least £20million (in light of a new shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered Bank next season which is worth £20million a year), to spend on players who could get the team into the Champions League.
Losing out on top level European football is not an option for the club, and purchasing the players required may not guarantee the result desired, but it could have certainly lowered the risk of missing out. A striker who would score 10 goals as the season draws to a close, would be worth his weight in gold if Liverpool achieved the fourth place needed, as would a couple of midfielders to create opportunities for the likes of Gerrard and Torres to put away. Not offering any money for the manager to spend, could just be the biggest mistake of all in the Liverpool owners’ troubled stay on Merseyside.
Such grim prospects if Liverpool fail to succeed are certainly difficult to digest but I am still confident, that if Torres and Gerrard stay fit, and Rafa brings some savvy loan signings to strengthen the squad, that Liverpool will be in the mix for fourth by the end of the season, but it would certainly have been a lot easier if there was some sort of money to bring in fresh new players.