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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 16:34 GMT
Alan Hansen's view
Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

The next two or three weeks will be critical in the history of Liverpool Football Club.

Speculation over whether owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are committed to Liverpool or will sell the club to Dubai International Capital has reached fever pitch.

Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks
Gillett and Hicks may not own Liverpool for much longer

But whether the owners are Hicks and Gillett or DIC, it is vital that Liverpool are able to build a new stadium and still have funds to go into the transfer market.

Otherwise they will not be able to compete with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea.

And that is exactly what is concerning the supporters, the players, the ex-players and anyone connected with Liverpool.

Should Liverpool stall now, it would be so counter-productive for the future of the club.

It is essential that a new stadium is built in the near future. At the moment Liverpool have attendances of about 44,000 at Anfield and they cannot compete with Manchester United, who pack in about 76,000 at Old Trafford.

However, the worrying thing is, if Liverpool's new stadium is going to be financed by debt, that could mean cash flow is stifled and new players cannot be brought in.

Liverpool fans want to know that is not going to happen.

The club did really well in the 1970s and 80s because they were successful on the pitch, the punters turned up en masse, the club made money and invested in better players.

That in turn brought more success... and so the cycle went on.

Although there has not been a Liverpool manager since then who has not had any money to spend, perhaps they have not had quite enough.

It is imperative that the ownership situation is sorted out quickly one way or another

Alan Hansen

You have to put total faith in your manager, if you feel he is the man to take you forward, and back him with money. And to be successful in the modern game requires lots and lots of money. It is a simple as that.

Gillett and Hicks could defend themselves by saying they have given Rafael Benitez money to spend on new players.

Fernando Torres came in at the start of the season at a cost of 23m, and Benitez laid out 45-50m in total during the close season - although some money was recouped through players leaving.

But at the moment, the fact remains that Liverpool are a bit short of where they want to be.

I have met Gillett and he is a very, very affable character. I had dinner with him in July and he was so enthusiastic about Liverpool that I was really impressed.

But after all that has gone on, with the approach to Jurgen Klinsmann to replace Benitez and doubts about the American owners' long-term commitment to Liverpool, he and Hicks need to clear the air and be seen at Anfield.

They must make it absolutely clear that they are in it for the long term, if that is the case. If they are not in it for the long term, and they receive a reasonable offer from DIC, then they should sell up.

Especially if DIC can guarantee that it can make funds available for a new stadium and also provide funds for new players.

The vast of majority of people will want what is best for Liverpool - whether that is Gillett and Hicks or DIC remains to be seen.

But it is imperative that the ownership situation is sorted out quickly, one way or another. It must not be allowed to drag on.

Alan Hansen was talking to Ian Hughes

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