Paul Merson has suggested to Sky Sports that it would be simply “unthinkable” for Liverpool to drop out of the top four this season.
Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp has already admitted defeat in the title race, and his team have a tough fight on their hands to book their place in next season’s Champions League.
Manchester City are currently playing on another level and showing no signs of weakness.
Manchester United are likely to chase them, but it is an open race for the top four after that pair.
Leicester City, West Ham United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa are all in the mix with 12 rounds left to play.
Merson claims that the team under Klopp has been “unbelievable” for the last couple of seasons but is concerned about what may happen if they fail to claw their way into the top four.
He told Sky Sports: “I can’t explain how big it would be if Liverpool ended up not getting in the top four – it’s massive. Massive. Liverpool can’t not be in the Champions League.
“People go over the years they might not have been in every year, but this Liverpool team of the last two years have been, bar the last three months, unbelievable.
“To be out of the top four would be unthinkable. Unthinkable. They would’ve budgeted everything, everything about it – season tickets, everything.
“TV money from the Champions League, prize money for getting through the groups; it pays people’s wages. They’re not bottomless pits.
“They still have to look at their books. It won’t be ‘oh, don’t worry about it’. And they need to bring in players. We’ve seen that with a few injuries they’ve become a lot less of a team.
“How are you going to get players to Liverpool now if they’re not going to be in the Champions League? They need to get in the top four, 100 percent.”
Merson is absolutely spot on here. The Liverpool owners haven’t invested enough in recent transfer windows and, according to James Pearce, the same trend is likely to continue in the summer.
Liverpool’s best chance of securing a marquee player is by selling one of their front three at a high price, a repeat of what they did with Phillipe Coutinho. They also need to ship out fringe players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi.
However, without Champions League football, the Reds won’t be able to attract top players, and it will become difficult for them to be competitive in the league.
In other news, read: Liverpool and Chelsea combined XI ahead of their crucial clash on Thursday.