Vladimir Romanov admits backing away from buying Liverpool after fears purchase would ‘drive him to early grave’

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THE glamour tie against Liverpool will be an interesting game for Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov.

The Lithuanian banker revealed last year that he had been planning to snap up the Anfield side for £200 million in the same year he bought his majority shareholding in Hearts.

He said it was the reaction to his appearance at Tynecastle which prompted him to walk away from the deal, admitting he had been “scared”.

In an interview, he revealed: “In 2005, my club Kaunas was playing against Liverpool in the Champions League qualifiers. David Moores, who then owned Liverpool, suggested that I bought it for £200m. The price was realistic, a serious piece of real estate, star players. Just to mention Gerrard.

“I got scared. By that time I had been beaten black and blue over Hearts in Scotland where they pictured me as an idiot. I thought that if I got hold of Liverpool they would definitely drive me to an early grave.”

He said he had planned a bid with an unnamed Russian businessman.

“He refused, and I did not risk getting into it on my own,” he added.