For a club of Liverpool's prominence, three consecutive seasons outside of the Premier League's top 4 is simply inexcusable.
Financial implications of missing out on Champions League football amount to millions of dollars every year in lost sponsorships, TV rights, and participation money (among other bonuses).
The emergence of Raheem Sterling, and select moments of genius from Luis Suarez have been the only bright spots in an otherwise turbulent start to the campaign.
Liverpool currently lie in 12th place on 22 points, but remarkably sit only seven points adrift of Tottenham who occupy fourth spot on 29 points.
With the squad finally starting to string some results together under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool could well prove a dark horse in the race for fourth place come the end of the season in May.
Talisman, Luis Suarez, looks set to stick around for at least the remainder of the season after claiming to the media "he's happy to stay at Liverpool"' (via BBC):
I'm at a club where I'm very happy, my family is happy, I've got fantastic team-mates and a manager from whom I'm learning so much. I'm at a club where I've always wanted to be.
Since his arrival from Ajax Amsterdam in 2011, we've come to expect nothing short of brilliance from the Uruguayan.
In only his second full Premier League term with the Reds, "El Pistolero" has been prolific to say the least. He has already found the back of the net 13 times and is currently on course to have a 30 plus goal season.
Despite scoring in a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa at the weekend, Steven Gerrard has been far short of his best.
The skipper has taken part in 21 of Liverpool's matches this season, but has only netted three in all competitions.
At the age of 32, Gerrard may well be past his prime, but his leadership on and off the pitch cannot be questioned.
Rodger's recently revealed (via the Independent) Gerrard's lack of form this season may not be as a result of injuries or old age, but rather his ultimate desire to further the club's future generations.
Obviously as the skipper of this club and going through this period he'll maybe feel [the need to rein himself in because of the younger players]. He is so focused on improving this club so it's maybe something subconsciously that is within his mind.
This year's January transfer window will prove fundamental in determining whether Liverpool will be able mount a serious top 4 challenge.
Luis Suarez is in dire need of of assistance up top, so a proven striker must be at the top of Brendan Rodger's wish-list.
Daniel Sturridge, has been touted as a possible solution to Liverpool's over reliance on Suarez (via the Guardian), with the 23-year-old said to be frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Stamford Bridge.
In Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger you arguably have the Premier League's best center back pairing.
Discounting recent matches vs. Aston Villa and West Ham, the Reds have been on a defensive hot streak.
They have blanked their opponents for 4 out of the last 6 matches, and appear to be clicking at a crucial point in the season.
If the back four can continue to step up over the busy Holiday period, Liverpool will put themselves well into contention for a fourth place finish in 2012-13.