Brendan Rodgers' future on Merseyside looks in doubt following a third successive trophyless season in charge at Liverpool.
The FA Cup had represented the club's only chance of attaining silverware this season, but a 2-1 loss at the hands of Premier League strugglers, Aston Villa, put a swift end to their hopes of refilling the Anfield trophy cabinet.
Now seemingly fighting to hold onto his job, Rodgers' battle has been made all the harder by the announcement of Jurgen Klopp's availability come the end of this next season.
As many of Europe's top clubs now squabble amongst themselves to enlist the German manager's services, Liverpool have emerged as the latest club to have perhaps joined that list.
Placing unnecessary pressure on their current manager, this latest development has largely been the driving force behind speculation about the future of Rodgers. And understandably so.
A step backwards
Just 12 months ago, things looked oh so different for the Anfield boss. Restoring Liverpool into the Champions League qualification spots and mounting a serious challenge for the Premier League title, few would have predicted that a year on the same man would be under such scrutiny.
Slipping up quite literally at the last hurdle, Liverpool ultimately went on to finish runners up in the Premier League having been tantalisingly close to lifting their first League trophy for 20 years. With Sir Alex Ferguson in retirement, and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City both appointing new managers, if ever there was an opportunity to top the table it was then.
Yet rather than ignite a hunger to better their performance this time around, it merely sparked the beginning of a downward trajectory in from. Having never been close to emulating last season's highs, this campaign has clearly been a step backwards.
Although the sale of star man, Luis Suarez, to Barcelona was always going to weaken Rodgers' side this term, his replacement signings have quite simply not been up to scratch, providing another avenue for fans to mount their displeasure again the Northern Irishman's running of their club.
Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren were just a few of the signings made over the summer to enhance the squad, but all have offered little to make Liverpool a stronger side.
None however, have been more ridiculed then the addition of £16 million man Mario Balotelli, who signifies everything that has been wrong with the majority of Rodgers' recent signings. Overpriced, out of his depth and unreliable are just a few of the accusations that have been thrown his way this season, and by and large, they have been proven to be correct.
A spending of over £200 million on players during his reign at Liverpool has brought with it limited improvement. With the exceptions of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, the most influential members of Rodger's squad have all been recruited by previous managers.
Becoming the first Liverpool manager in over 50 years to go three seasons without a trophy may be the undoing of Rodgers time at Anfield. Combined with his failings in the transfer market, it appears increasingly plausible that this will be reason enough for the club's board to approach Jurgen Klopp about succeeding him, should this rot continue.
Liverpool fans: do you think Brendan Rodgers should be replaced by Jurgen Klopp? Let us know below!
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