At the weekend Graeme Souness revealed that he was fearful for his former club Liverpool and gave a damning verdict on Rafa Benitez, the man who Souness claims has left the Anfield outfit in a mess which would take £1billion to sort out.
Whilst Souness is probably exaggerating and being hypocritical (didn’t he drag Liverpool down and make a plethora of poor signings), does he make a point? Just how much of a crisis are the Merseyside club in?
Souness speaking to the Daily Star told of he worries that Liverpool may be on the brink: “Right now it sits teetering on arguably the most crucial tipping point of its entire history and I fear for its very future.”
He also argued that it may be difficult to attract a manager to succeed Benitez as the current shortlist containing the likes of Roy Hodgson and Mark Hughes (no disrespect intended) are not as high profile as managers you would expect to be linked with them under normal circumstances. Big names like Frank Rijkaard and Guus Hiddink have been quick to distance themselves from the job.
“Who the club would like and who they’ll end up getting could be two very different things,” said former Reds player Souness.
“For the first time since the Bill Shankly era, the Liverpool hot-seat isn’t a job that all the big managers would want. In fact, most of them wouldn’t touch it.
“The club is in debt, their squad of players is poor, they don’t have a major stadium, they won’t be playing Champions League football next year and there’s no guarantee that Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres won’t leave this summer.”
His comments are likely to provoke a negative response from the Anfield faithful, but the fans must also be worried as American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are running the club into the ground leading them to fall far behind former title rivals Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. Also, Manchester City and Tottenham have overtaken them in the table this past season. It may prove difficult to get back ahead of them now that Spurs have added the pull of the Champions League and with their money it is not a case of if, but when will the Citizens finish in the top four.
What would it take for Liverpool to compete? Souness believes it’ll be up to £1billion.
“They need to spend at least £100million to buy players good enough to challenge for the Premier League next year and the Champions League the season after that.
“After that they need around £300m to clear the club’s debts and at least another £400m to build a new stadium.” (Doesn’t ask for much, does he?)
Personally, I think he has been harsh in his comments of Liverpool’s former manager Benitez who has given the Liverpool fans some great times such as a Champions League victory, FA Cup and they went close to the title last season finishing with 86 points…which was the winning total this time around by double winners Chelsea.
However, I do think that Liverpool are falling far behind their rivals and the rot must stop quickly otherwise things could get much worse. I doubt the current ownership would reject any big money bids this summer for the likes of Torres, Gerrard and Javier Mascherano, but the Liverpool fans will expect that any funds raised this way should go into rebuilding their squad.
The club is in a mess and needs investment to get back on its feet, it is about time the American owners stopped lying to the fans and if they are not willing to put their money where their mouth is then I fear for the Anfield outfit’s future.