Liverpool's season has ended.
Yes it's true that now even fourth seems an outside possibility with Man City and Tottenham
Or maybe not.
This week Liverpool plays Tottenham, and next week the Villains host Arsenal.
In either case, for a team that was almost there after nearly two decades, passionate arguments for it to maintain its top four status is mildly humiliating.
2008 was Liverpool's best chance to win the league. But the eggnog took some time to wear off and three back to back draws in January took its toll. The results took Liverpool off the top spot and they were left playing catch up the rest of the season.
The team peaked last season, and the man providing the balance in the center of the field is now plying his trade in Madrid, the momentum seems to have left the team. A team which scored 38 goals in the last quarter of the game, compared to a total of 77 in all, seems to have some difficulty getting past the very mediocre these days.
The backbone of the team is probably still holidaying in Majorca.
Torres is continuously unfit, which means he's more worried about making it to the world cup than rescue his club to a face saving fourth.
Gerrard is jaded and has obvious problems with the team's management. And Carragher seems to have plain lost it. The man, who was a rock last season, plods along like a senile grandfather in the backline.
And if that wasn't enough, Team Glazer- sorry I meant Team H&G's little trick didn't pay off too well.
While the duo took a leaf out their predecessor's books to pull the same - WE WILL not CARRY OUT A LEVERAGED BUYOUT, trick. That went perfectly as planned, apart from the minor global catastrophe which led to its debt growing by leaps and bounds to a healthy sum of £237 million.
Hence the money necessary to overhaul an attack already at their peak, with Benayoun, Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera and Aurelio all between 28-31 years of age and find a direct substitute for Torres is unavailable.
But the straw to break the proverbial camels back is going to be Platini's scheme to curb the growing club debt.
Many commentators like Andy Morris seems to have valid problems with Platini's measures, and others dismiss it as a political and economic impossibility. Yet, if Platini gets his way, it would mean a quick disposal of a large chunk of the clubs debt - and a sure fire way of getting it done, would be a high profile firesale.
But then what about Benitez?
Why isn't he being blamed?
Last checked, he was the manager, and shouldn't Liverpool keeping with current fashion, sack its under-performing manager?
The major reason, why that seems unlikely is the same reason that brought Liverpool to this stage in the first place, money. A 20 million buyout clause, in Benitez's contract, will be fiscally unsound for the club to handle, especially when any incoming manager would want to change things around and bring in new players.
But apart from that, this is actually the first year Benitez's in completely in charge. His long drawn out, but finally successful battle with the board over his contract has now given him complete control over the clubs transfers and the youth setup.
So give the man a chance, the faithful stood by him in his first few years. Now give him the chance to mould the club to his vision.
That said, the question is ideally should he be replaced.
And the answer is yes and no.
No, he shouldn't be replaced. There are very few managers out there who can read the game better than him.
If there is one man who can successfully be a short term messiah and a legend on Shankley-esque proportions, is the Dutch wizard.
The man has been a consistent miracle worker for all the teams he's worked with; and he isn't afraid to try out and promote youth players thereby saving the team a lot of expenditure to get quality on the bench.
If the club wants to really use its 20 million in its transfer kitty, then it shouldn't be for a player but to change its manager.
But if not, the club should stick with what they, because what they have has won them a Champs league in his first year, the FA Cup in his second year, another Champs league final in his third, and a second spot in the League in his fifth.