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Benitez: I'd quit if Torres was sold

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez would quit the Premier League club if forced to sell Fernando Torres. The Merseyside club have debts of around £245m leading to speculation that owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett could be tempted to cash in on their prize asset at some point in the near future.

'I'm confident it will never happen. If it did, I'd resign,' Benitez told The Times. The Liverpool manager admitted that he has made mistakes in the transfer market but has spent well when given money to spend. 'When we have spent big, normally it's been very good business: Torres, [Javier] Mascherano, [Pepe] Reina, [Xabi] Alonso.'

'Keane is a good player but we had to sell him because he was not playing at the level we knew he could play. Babel was signed for the future and we are waiting for his improvement. He has to be more consistent.'

The Spaniard continued: 'With the fringe players we needed to take a gamble on Bosmans and one-, two-million pound players. Some of these have not been good enough. It is a risk you have to accept when there is not too much money about.'

Benitez also defended his decision to sign Alberto Aquilani from Roma for £17m despite the fact that the Italian international was recovering from injury: 'We can only buy one or two big, £20 million players a year. If we want to have money available then we have to sell some players.'

'We have to sell expensive and buy as cheaply as possible. Aquilani fit would be £20m to £30m. We checked with doctors and they said he would be out one, maybe two months. We have lost some time but I signed the player for five years, not five weeks.'

The under fire Liverpool also believes that his side will still be part of the big four at the end of the season: 'People are worried but the team will improve. When we have key players on the pitch we are as good as anyone. We have proved this in the past.'

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