Financial reports released for the first time show the club itself made an operating loss before tax of £16million in the year ending July 31 2009, down from a profit £10.2million profit in the previous 12 months.

Kop Holdings, the company set up by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to buy Liverpool in 2007, made a loss before tax of £54.9million.

That plunged the finances further into the red with the debt rising from £299.8million to £351.4million, with interest payments on loans increasing by £3.6million to £40.1million.

With their rivals sensing weakness there have already been reports of Chelsea preparing a £70million bid for Torres and Real Madrid considering a £35million offer for Gerrard.

Broughton said neither instances would be considered as both players remained integral to manager Rafael Benitez's team.

"There is absolutely no reason to sell either Torres or Gerrard," said the British Airways chairman, brought in last month by the co-owners to oversee the sale of the club.

"I don't want to sell either of them. Rafa does not want to sell either of them, the club is not looking to sell them, "We don't need to do it to pay off any debt.

"Torres is one of the great players and every club would love to have him. We have got him and there is no intention of selling him." Broughton yesterday held his first long-awaited meeting with Benitez, during which the pair discussed the current situation regarding the search for new owners and also plans for the summer squad rebuilding.

There are further get-togethers scheduled but with debt levels increasing at the club it seems unlikely Benitez will be handed the £50million-plus he feels he needs to get the club back into Champions League contention.

"We have met, it was a frank exchange of views, constructive and very helpful," said Broughton.

"The squad does need strengthening and that is an on-going process which will not be stopped by the sale.

"We have sat down with Rafa to determine what is the strength of it (the squad), what it needs, who are the right players and who needs to be sold.

"What I have asked from Rafa is what any football club board ask at the end of the season.

"It is for an appraisal of each of the players, where the weak links are, which players he would prefer to sell if he had the opportunity, which positions he needs to fill, who are his prime candidates and what would be his priorities." That dialogue will at least give Benitez some cause of optimism, considering there were times in the past - before he signed his new five-year contract just over a year ago which gave him more control over transfers - when matters were taken out of his hands.

Missing out on signing Gareth Barry, who eventually left Aston Villa for Manchester City, and the farcical arrival and departure of Tottenham's Robbie Keane in a five-month period were just two examples which previously angered the Spaniard.

Broughton also revealed he hoped new owners would be in place at Anfield in a "matter of months".

"Success for me is completing a sale within a relatively short period - a matter of months - to someone who, hindsight says, was a very good owner for Liverpool," he told