We all know Liverpool is in a real mess. They currently lie in seventh position in the league and are 12 points behind leaders Chelsea. They have been knocked out of the Champions League and have an FA Cup replay. The club’s American owners have been hit hard by the recession, which makes Liverpool’s financial problems even worse.
These are hard times for the Anfield faithful. Could things get even worse if Liverpool fail to make the top four? Below are a few gloomy predictions for the Merseyside club if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season...
It is no secret that the top players in the world want to play in the Champions League. The club currently has three world-class players in Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, and Javier Mascherano. These players are crucial for the club to get back in the top four. If Liverpool fails to qualify for the Champions League, then the allure of playing in Europe’s premier competition may see a player exodus from the club.
Torres has pledged his allegiance to Liverpool, but the club may be forced to sell him to raise money if they miss out on the riches of Champions League football. Likely suitors are, of course, Real Madrid and Barcelona, but moneybags Chelsea or Man City may make bids that Anfield cannot refuse.
Mourinho has attempted to court Gerrard away from Anfield before. The midfield maestro was very close to leaving the club to Chelsea during Euro 2004. Could Mourinho court him again?
Mascherano has made no secret in his wish to leave Liverpool to sign for Barcelona. If Liverpool fails to reach the top four, then expect the Argentinean to leave in strained circumstances like he did from West Ham.
Without these three players, can Liverpool bounce back in 2010-2011? Or is this too much to ask?
Stanley Park will be great when—and if—it opens. But is Liverpool really financially stable enough to move into a new stadium?
Part of the allure of playing for Liverpool is the fantastic support from the Kop at Anfield. Why would Liverpool want to lose this home advantage (especially if they are struggling financially) by changing stadiums? Other teams have struggled at finding their feet at new stadiums. Arsenal’s move to the Emirates did affect their performance on the pitch, and worse still, the Gunners’ fans initially struggled to rekindle the atmosphere that had made Highbury great to play at in the Emirates.
I’m not sure a new stadium is the right step forward for Liverpool at this time because it would only add more debt to a debt-ridden club. The club’s leadership needs to be stable before making such huge financial commitments, as this will seriously affect performance on the pitch. It has taken Arsenal three years to get comfortable at the Emirates, and the London club are one of the most stable clubs in Europe.
What has happened to the famed Liverpool Academy that produced Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, and even Danny Murphy in recent years?
The other top clubs have been producing great prospects. Manchester United have Evans, Obertan, Rafael, and Machida. Arsenal’s Youth Program is the envy of all clubs in the EPL. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere look like superstars of the future. Even bitter rivals Chelsea are investing in talent.
It isn’t only the other top four clubs that are looking to youth development; bitter rival Everton has overtaken Liverpool in producing talent. Liverpool needs to address this problem quickly, because a lack of academy players will have detrimental results in a cash-strapped future. The problem with rectifying this problem is that Liverpool will not see the benefits of this for at least five years. This is something that Rafa Benitez should have done when he first arrived at Anfield.
Liverpool after Rafa
It seems that Benitez will not be around for next season. So who will replace him?
Rafa has been at Liverpool since 2004. He has been there a long time, and whoever will replace him will have a hard time imputing a new identity to the club. Would his departure see the Spanish legion leave?
With this all in mind, one cannot underestimate how important the next six months will be for Liverpool.
Rafa is a good manager, and his sides have a habit of performing when they are really up against it. And if Liverpool do make it into the top four, then Rafa will have done something special. Whether this can happen, I am not so sure.