In the latest serialisation of his new book, Pepe Reina has revealed he feared Liverpool would be relegated during the tenure of Rafa Benitez.
Despite coming agonisingly close to winning the title a year before, the Reds finished seventh during Benitez's final season at the helm.
This poor showing led to the Spaniard being sacked as Liverpool boss after six years with the club, and he was replaced at Anfield by Roy Hodgson.
And, although he did not like to admit it, Reina realised that Benitez's time on Merseyside had run its course.
"When Rafa left Liverpool at the end of the 2009/10 season, I knew that it was the right time for him to go," said Reina, to the Daily Mirror.
"It hurts me to say that, but the wheels had come off by then and there was no guarantee that he was going to be able to put them back on."
The Spanish shot-stopper first realised Liverpool were in for a testing season during a pre-season outing against Barcelona outfit Espanyol.
And, after being convincingly beaten by the La Liga side, Reina believed that, if this form was not addressed, relegation would become a distance possibility.
"I first began to realise we were in trouble when we played against Espanyol in a pre-season friendly at the start of August 2009,” he added.
"They beat us 3-0 and could have scored more. When I came off the pitch there was a part of me that thought: 'If we carry on like this, we are going to get relegated.'"
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