Owner Henry admits Liverpool are "years behind"

Liverpool are still far from being title challengers, owner John W Henry admitted on Saturday, DPA reported.

Despite the optimism around Anfield this season Henry, who bought the club a little under a year ago, sought to dampen expectation in an interview with the Telegraph.

"Manchester United has done an incredible job of building a young, talented, deep squad," he said.

"I watched a number of their pre-season matches and they seemed in top form even then. We've just begun to build and are years behind them so we don't expect this to be our year to win the Premier League.

"Manchester City seem to have unlimited spending restraint and want all-star quality at each position. That will be hard to beat. This year our goal is to get back to the Champions League.

"But it won't be at all easy and no one is expecting that, as there are six big clubs - among the best in Europe - fighting for four spots."

Henry, used to the US system, admitted that football's transfer system had taken some getting used to, but insisted the 35 million pounds (57 million dollars) paid for Andy Carroll in January and the 20 million for Jordan Henderson in the summer represent good value.

"Everyone seemed to think that Liverpool was over-valuing British players this summer," he said.

"But when the Premier League has the whole world to choose players from and there is a substantial homegrown rule, British players are going to be highly valued.

"Look at the prices paid this year for (Connor) Wickham and (Alex) Chamberlain. At Liverpool we have purchased each player for a different reason and are headed in a different direction."

Left-back Emiliano Insua left Liverpool for Sporting, signing a five-year deal with the Portuguese club.

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