Liverpool finally complete takeover

LONDON - Liverpool's long-running ownership saga was resolved on Friday when New England Sports Ventures, owners of Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox, completed a 300 million pound takeover of the Premier League club.

The deal for England's most successful team marked the end of the road for the club's American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who admitted defeat when a Dallas court lifted a temporary restraining order blocking the deal.

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The outcome desired by so many fans will be a relief ahead of Sunday's local derby with Everton, a hugely important game given the club's precarious position in the bottom three of the Premier League.

"As any football fan knows, the most nerve-racking way of winning a match is in a penalty shootout," Liverpool's chairman Martin Broughton said in announcing the deal.

"But as long as you get the right result it's worth it. We got the right result."

Emerging to face the throng of reporters, new owner John W Henry said: "We're here to win and we'll do whatever it takes."

Henry said in a separate statement he was humbled by his new status as the man in charge of one of football's most popular institutions.

"On behalf of the entire NESV partnership, I want to express how incredibly proud and humbled we are to be confirmed as the new owners of Liverpool FC," he said.

"We regard our role as that of stewards for the club with a primary focus on returning the club to greatness on and off the field for the long-term.

"We are committed first and foremost to winning. We have a history of winning, and today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we intend to bring to this great club."

The club's former co-owners had bitterly opposed the takeover and lawyers for the pair threatened further legal action on Friday with a claim for $1.6 billion in damages.

"This outcome not only devalues the club but it also will result in long-term uncertainty for the fans, players and everyone who loves this sport because all legal recourses will be pursued," said their Texas lawyer Steve Stodghill in a statement.

Liverpool had been facing a deadline on Friday to clear debts with chief creditor Royal Bank of Scotland.

Hicks and Gillett said in their earlier statement they had offered to clear that debt but their offer had been refused.

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