Reds legend Mark Lawrenson has criticised Fenway Sports Group's (FSG) search for a new manager and has disregarded suggestions Liverpool could challenge for a Champions League place next season.

The Match of the Day pundit and ex-Liverpool centre-half hit out at the Reds recruitment process, as FSG consider all their options before replacing former boss Kenny Dalglish.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez appeared to be the frontrunner, flying out to Miami for talks with Liverpool owner John W Henry, but Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers - who initially ruled himself out - is now also back in the frame.

The two Premier League managers head a list of candidates that reportedly includes up to 12 names, including former boss Rafa Benitez and ex-Chelsea supremo Andre Villas-Boas.

But Lawrenson, who won five top-flight titles with Liverpool, believes the club's owners are taking the wrong approach.

Writing in his Daily Mirror column, Lawrenson said: "I know Liverpool's owners are going about the search for a new manager the American way, but they've got it wrong. I can't believe they are doing it so publicly."

Former boss Dalglish was sacked after the Reds finished eighth, 17 points off Champions League qualification, and Lawrenson doesn't think his old side will qualify next year either.

"The club are at a crossroads and I would argue they are even further off finishing in the top four now than they were at the start of last season," said Lawrenson.

"If anything, they are going backwards, not forwards. I look at next season and I think the best they can hope to finish is sixth."

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