Hodgson and stadium plan put Reds in red

A payoff to former manager Roy Hodgson and an abandoned plan for a new stadium helped contribute to a loss of around 50 million pounds for Liverpool in last year's accounts.

Managing director Ian Ayre said Liverpool, who meet Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday, were now in a much stronger position following the takeover by U.S. businessman John W Henry's Fenway Sports Group in October 2010.

The new owners have wiped out debts of 200 million pounds and cut annual interest charges from 18 million to three million pounds, Ayre added.

Liverpool, European champions five times, have endured a lean time on the pitch in recent seasons and annual financial results for the period to July 31, 2011 also reflected upheaval at board and management level.

"I think people will probably focus on the headline which is there has been a 49-50 million pound loss in these accounts," Ayre told the club's website.

"But what I can say is a large majority of that is related to writing off a stadium facility where most of the cost was focused around a design for a stadium which many fans will remember as being the bigger, 70,000-seat proposition which never got built.

"Also within that 50 million or so figure were some exceptional costs around the departure of Roy Hodgson as manager and various other staff associated around that time," added Ayre.

Hodgson, appointed England manager this week, lasted just half a season at Liverpool before he was sacked in January 2011 with the club languishing in mid-table.

Liverpool have had another indifferent Premier League season and will fail to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.

However, they have won the League Cup and will complete a notable double if they beat Chelsea at the weekend.

Liverpool are guaranteed a spot in next season's Europa League but Ayre made it clear the owners had their sights fixed on a return to the Champions League as soon as possible.

"It's vital we get into that competition and it's important for this club to be in it. But from a business perspective I think we were able to demonstrate that without it we can still move forward," he said.