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Premier League

John Henry slams 'destructive and unwarranted' Liverpool speculation

Liverpool co-owner John Henry has reassured fans he will not allow the squad to be weakened in the January transfer window - despite "destructive and unwarranted" speculation they are to sell some of their top stars.

Reports have been rife over the future of goalkeeper Jose Reina - and other star players - because of the recent instability at Anfield and the poor start made by the team to the Barclays Premier League season.

Reds manager Roy Hodgson yesterday warned Manchester United that Reina was not for sale, and Henry concurs that the club are aiming to build on - rather than dismantle - the current squad.

The American told www.liverpoolfc.tv: "We have recently read stories about our intentions for the forthcoming January transfer window and have a sense of humour about this type of inevitable speculation.

"As everyone knows we are new to English football, but not to sport, and we are studying all options. Opportunities and value will drive spending in January and in the future.

"Our clear focus from day one of our ownership has been - and will be - to improve the club and focus on what it will take to put Liverpool FC consistently in a position to challenge for trophies.

"We intend to build this club the right way.

"Stories about our top players leaving are destructive and unwarranted but we realise that this kind of speculation is also common.

"We intend to build on the strength of the current squad, not undermine it. And I can reassure our supporters that we have no intention of allowing the team to be weakened going forward."

Hodgson has welcomed the statement from Henry and feels the mood at Anfield has been transformed since the recent takeover by New England Sports Ventures.

Having spoken regularly to Henry and his co-owner Tom Werner, the Reds boss does not feel under any pressure to sell players.

He accepts, however, the situation may have been different had Tom Hicks and George Gillett retained control of the club.

"The statements were totally self-explanatory and in line with everything John and Tom have told me all along," Hodgson said. "It is very much in line with our aims for the club.

"One of our aims for the club is to rebuild and restructure and get much stronger. The way we hope to do that is keeping our strong base of top players and adding more players to it.

"There have never been any discussions of the need to sell or get rid of players. All the talk has been of how we are going to make the team stronger.

"It is a very different situation to the one I found myself in at the beginning. There was talk then of staving off administration and having to let players go.

"But the new owners coming in has completely changed the face of things and, as far as we are concerned, their statement is perfect. It is just what everyone wants to hear."