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Liverpool in Crisis as Increased Scrutiny May Tear the Squad Apart

21/05/2015 21:52 BST | Updated 21/05/2016 10:59 BST

Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool. What are we going to do with you guys? For a while, we were all quite content to let you bubble under the surface quietly, picking up the odd Champions League place and occasional cup, but not causing any major waves.

Then last season, you screwed it up. It wasn't just that you nearly won the league, it was how loud you were about it. The Gerrard huddle on the pitch. Then came the slip and Crystanbul and it all fell away.

But see, we have to take you seriously now. You've shown that one excellent player is all that it takes to turn you into real, actual contenders. Now, we can't just write you off as the half-decent team who do weird things like wear t-shirts with Luis Suarez's face on them in an attempt to... defend him against racism accusations? Show support? It's still not entirely clear, frankly.

But still, we have to take you seriously.

So with that in mind...what the hell's going on, guys? To slip from second last season to fifth this season - and that's a best case scenario, it could still be seventh - isn't a good look. To cap it all, you're about to lose both of your top scorers this season.

The very fact that Steven Gerrard is the top scorer, with just eight goals in the league and four more elsewhere, flashes up a pretty big warning sign. He's leaving for LA in the summer, so it should be time for Raheem Sterling, maturing as a player and this season's second highest scorer, to pick up the slack.

Except the 20-year-old is expected to meet with club officials this week to tell them that he, in no uncertain terms, wants out of Anfield. His relationship with the club has been visibly worsening over the course of the season and it looks like it's finally hit breaking point.

When arguably your most exciting player is getting ready to force his way out of your club, you've done something wrong. In this case, it seems that Sterling has a few problems with the hierarchy. He doesn't seem to trust the club, the club don't seem to understand what he wants and what's more, they don't seem able to give it to him.

Sterling wants success. He wants to win things. He, at least, wants regular Champions League football. None of those things look like they're happening with the current state of the club.

But instead of actually doing something to address his concerns, they've trotted out the usual Liverpool lines. Brendan Rodgers, while discussing Sterling's future, called the club "one of the superpowers of football."

Superpower, Brendan? A superpower who haven't won their own domestic league for quarter of a century? A superpower who have only a League Cup trophy to show for their last eight seasons? Give us a break.

For the last five or so years, Liverpool have consistently hovered around 7th place in the league. There's no shame in that, Liverpool fans, there are plenty of teams who'd love that kind of stability. But the club needs to start realising the level they're actually at. When Gareth Bale, Dimitar Berbatov and Luka Modric left Spurs in search of trophies, everybody understood. Sterling's desire for a move should be seen in that kind of light, not treated like a spoiled kid who wants more cash.

Brendan Rodgers and/or whoever's actually behind contract negotiations at the club need to exercise a little humility and work with Sterling, instead of trying to pressure him into a new deal. And let's not forget that Gerrard's said that he would've stayed if he'd been offered a contract last summer.

Liverpool badly need to get their house in order if they want to have a hope of clawing their way back into the top four again any time soon. The building blocks are all there: a devoted fanbase, a young team rife with potential, a manager with a decent track record and the rest of it.

Look at that squad. Sterling, Coutinho, Jordan Ibe, Emre Can, Javi Manquillo and Alberto Moreno are all 22 years old or younger. Treated right, there's the spine of a very good team there. Only thing is, with Liverpool's track record, there's absolutely no guarantee of that treatment.

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