Reina seeks swift end to 'chaos'

MADRID - The "chaos" surrounding the takeover bid for Liverpool by New England Sports Ventures (NESV) has been a distraction for the players and they are hoping for a swift resolution, goalkeeper Pepe Reina said on Sunday.

NESV, which also owns the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise, agreed last week to buy England's most successful football club in a deal worth 300 million pounds.

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However, current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are challenging the sale in London's High Court in a case starting on Tuesday.

The team, meanwhile, are third from bottom in the league standings with only six points from seven matches this season.

Spain goalkeeper Reina told Reuters in an interview at the world champions' training base outside Madrid the ownership dispute was distracting the players from their bid to haul the team out of the relegation zone but said that could not be used as an excuse for poor performances on the pitch.

"The only thing we can do is play football and the things that are going on around the club, the ownership situation and all that, is out of our hands," the 28-year-old said, adding that he had not yet had any communication with NESV officials.

"It's still too soon to talk about the takeover because there is still some chaos down there.

"I am worried. I am worried because of the situation of the club but I am optimistic and I think we are going to bounce back and be our best in a few months. At least that's what I hope."


If Hicks and Gillett succeed in blocking the sale Liverpool could go into administration, potentially suffering a nine-point deduction from the Premier League.

Reina, training with his Spain team mates ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Scotland, said the Liverpool players would be very upset if the team were docked points and they were hoping the institutional crisis would be settled sooner rather than later.

"It would be a tough setback and a very difficult situation but I am optimistic that everything will be sorted out before that," he added, speaking in fluent English.

"All that we can do now is hope and pray for a good finish and a very good ending.

"We could do nothing (so far) apart from winning games and that hasn't been the case unfortunately."

Madrid-born Reina insisted Liverpool had the quality to avoid relegation even with the potential points penalty but conceded that it would end any hopes of qualifying for Europe.

"I still believe that even with nine less points we will be able to stay in the Premier League but of course it will be no other target possible for us because with nine points less it's going to be a tough, tough year.

"I don't even want to think about that because we won't be that bad and it won't be like this."


Liverpool had to play some difficult matches early in the calendar and a couple of wins would help raise confidence levels again, he said.

"The team is good enough to start winning games. It's a difficult situation but we have to stick together and work hard to try to turn it around."

Reina signed a new six-year contract with Liverpool in April and said he was unaware of any official interest or offer from the club's league rivals Arsenal.

British media have reported that Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, wants to lure the keeper to London.

"The only thing I can do is play football and focus on Liverpool because I just signed a six-year contract," Reina said. "It's just because of the press. I don't know anything else."

Fellow Spaniard and Liverpool team mate Fernando Torres has struggled with injury and poor form in recent months but Reina said the forward would soon be back to his best.

"Fernando is one of the best strikers in the world. As soon as he is fit once again, and he's working on that, he will be shining once again for us."