Ian Ayre confident about Liverpool financial figures

The Reds' debt has risen by £21.8million to £87.2million

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre is confident the robustness of the club's commercial operation will help them overcome any shortfalls from a lack of European football.

The Reds' debt rose by £21.8million to £87.2million in the 10 months between August 1 2011 to May 31 2012 - a restructured accounting period designed to bring alignment with the football season.

However, the loss of £40.5million was less than the £49.3million made the previous year and done against the backdrop of no Europa League action, although Liverpool did get to two cup finals, winning one.

With Brendan Rodgers' side currently seventh in the Barclays Premier League and European football far from a certainty next season, Ayre is convinced off-field performance - turnover rose by £5million - will help bridge any gap.

"It's good to see that even in a year where we have a downturn in fortunes by not playing European football, we can bolster our revenues by performing in other areas," he said.

"It shows that we have a very strong and growing business that sits behind the football club.

"And as we approach things like Financial Fair Play and that type of environment, that puts us in a very strong position."

The figures do not include the record £25million-a-season six-year sponsorship deal with kit manufacturers Warrior, which came into effect last summer and could net the club a similar amount through associated merchandising.

"We've had record sales of their products throughout this year," Ayre told liverpoolfc.com.

"We've also seen new sponsors come on board, notably Chevrolet and Garuda Airlines.

"If you have got a successfully performing team and you have got an infrastructure which we now have and the business ability to deliver revenue, then both of them coming together would be a fantastic solution for the football club all round."

Some of the deficit was as a result of investing heavily in the transfer market - and the costs associated with bringing in the likes of Stewart Downing (£20million) and Jordan Henderson (£16million) in the weeks preceding the accounting period - while offloading other players at a loss.

But with the club's owners Fenway Sports Group firmly focused on the impending arrival of Financial Fair Play, Ayre stressed there was necessary work to be undertaken.

"The key message for me is that we are continuing to transition to the point we have been working on for several years under this ownership - which is to continue to improve revenues and manage our cost base effectively," he said.

"The biggest cost base without doubt is player trading and player wages - but these accounts demonstrate that we are still working hard to improve that.

"I take comfort in the fact that the work we have done, some of which costs us a lot of money in this period and beyond, looks pretty painful at the time.

"But as long as you invest in it and manage it in the right way, then hopefully it bears fruit as we go forward and gives us a better platform to exist on in a different environment and in a world where we are expected to break even.

"You never take comfort from any business that makes a loss but I am pleased that we're making the progress we are making."

A settlement for former boss Kenny Dalglish, sacked in May, was included in £9.5million of "exceptional payments" but Press Association Sport understands the severance package for assistant Steve Clarke and compensation to Swansea for Rodgers will be included in the next set of figures.

PA

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