Chinese businessman Kenneth Huang has confessed he is in talks to buy Liverpool and that manager Rafael Benitez remains at the centre of his £500 million masterplan.
Huang is heading a consortium interested in ending the ownership deadlock at Anfield and has been given access to the club’s accounts by current top-brass Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The former Wall Street broker expects talks to reach a conclusion in the next two months and has already told Benitez his job at the club's helm is safe if he takes control.
Such early reassurances have been viewed as an attempt to prevent the Spaniard jumping ship and joining Italian giants Juventus this summer.
“Negotiations have taken place over the last few months and we are at a crucial stage," Huang told the Sunday Mirror.
“I really hope it turns out to be a successful bid. Right now my audit team is examining the books and my legal team is in close contact with theirs.
“We have a fierce competitor in the Middle East, but it could be finalised in June.
“I was first approached [to buy Liverpool] in 2008 when I was in Singapore attending a Formula One Grand Prix, but the asking price was one billion US dollars.
“It was totally unreasonable so I turned it down. The asking price has dropped significantly since then and we are talking again.
“I want Liverpool to win the Champions League and Premier League and I think [Rafael] Benitez is a very good coach.”
Benitez’s agent Manuel Garcia Quilon conceded last week that the Spaniard had spoken to a potential Chinese investor and would play a pivotal role in the future plans of the prospective new owners.
However, reports in Italy have suggested the tactician is close to penning a £5 million-a-year deal to manage the Old Lady in
Quilon has met with Juve officials and the Liverpool boss has been given a deadline of May 10 to decide his future.