This week's actions of Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group make it clear what Kenny Dalglish must to do to keep his job. Cup success has not justified the club's abysmal Premier League form, resulting in a failure to even challenge for the Champions League places.
Only an upturn in results will prevent him following Damien Comolli out of the Anfield exit door - or at least remove him from his managerial position.
The departure of the Reds' former Director of Football seems to have removed the final layer of protection offered to Liverpool fans looking for someone else to blame, other than one of the club's most celebrated footballers, for their dismal campaign.
This year's Carling Cup triumph has secured passage through to the Europa League next term, but FSG have demonstrated that even the prospect of adding the FA Cup, with semi-final victory over Merseyside rivals Everton at Wembley this weekend, would still not be enough to validate 2011-12 as a successful season.
The ruthlessness of Comolli's sacking in a sense leaves Dalglish in an even more vulnerable position. After defending the club's major signings over the past 18 months - which amount to nearly £115 million in spending money - insisting that they will come good, has created an added pressure and another way for him to be judged.
As Liverpool's peculiar season moves towards its conclusion, it was always likely the club's American owners would seek to change something in a structure that wasn't working. But, having recognised the obvious need for change, they have ultimately shied away from the tough decision relating to one of Anfield's most iconic figures.
Whether FSG have chosen the right man as their fall guy, only time will tell. For now though, they have made their decision, and will have to stand by it. Just as they did, and still are, standing by the decision to appoint Dalglish in the first place.
Liverpool have intimated they will look to replace Comolli rather than scrap the controversial director of football model. Dalglish won't particularly want one, but this is clearly a structure that makes the Americans feel most comfortable.
Early speculation has suggested the club are looking for a figure with the profile of Johan Cruyff to fulfil the role.
The 64-year-old Dutchman is one of the biggest names in world football, and has been acclaimed for his role in helping to set up the academy system at Barcelona.
He has consultancy roles at Ajax and Chivas Guadalajara, but whether he would be enticed by the prospect of working in England, with Liverpool, is debatable.
Louis Van Gaal is another name that has been mentioned, and unlike Cruyff, would be available immediately. Having been out of work since he was sacked by Bayern Munich, the 60-year-old has ideal credentials, with an outstanding track record of developing young players.
One theory that hasn't yet been suggested - that would also align with Dalglish's untouchable position at Anfield, created by the longevity of his popularity, thanks to former glories - is a move upstairs for the current boss.
The Scot could prolong his Liverpool love-affair behind the scenes, whilst saving the owners the inevitable headache that would follow when trying to explain to fans the reason behind the dispensing of an all-time Kop favourite.
Former Reds chairman Sir Martin Broughton - who brought FSG to Merseyside before stepping down in 2010 - had his doubts whether Dalglish could be a success in the Anfield hot seat after 12 years away from top-flight management. That was why he dismissed the thought of appointing the Liverpool legend on the day Roy Hodgson was unveiled as the club's new manager back in July 2010.
The fact that he was actively looking for new Liverpool owners at the time, also meant that Broughton didn't want the possibility of them losing popularity at the start of their reign, by having to dismiss Dalglish.
However, the review of a poor Premier League campaign has been brought forward because of the speed with which Liverpool's Champions League aspirations disintegrated.
Dalglish's reputation may remain untarnished, but in the best interests of the club, it's time for 'King' Kenny to abdicate, paving way for a new manager to take on the Liverpool throne.
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