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Once-mighty Reds rapidly spiraling into mediocrity

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Nick Webster

Nick Webster has been the voice of the Barclays Premier League, FIFA World Cup's and UEFA European Championships in America since 2001. Insightful, provocative and entertaining, you'll always find him at the heartbeat of the action with stories that matter.
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Enough is enough. This has to be said.

On February 6th 2007, Liverpool FC began to die as a football club.

On December 13th 2009, the plugged was finally pulled at Anfield.

All that is now left is a carcass or two that will inevitably be sold to pay for the funeral.

Whether American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. will be around for the last rites is altogether a different question. In fact both men have answers for a million different questions.

The first, which I would ask is: 'Can you please tell me why you bought the club in the first place?' My number is easy to get, you know whom to ask. If you have any guts what so ever call me on Fox Football Fone-In tonight and tell the world your grand master plan, because as far as I know, you're the only ones who know it.

Look, as a kid, I hated Liverpool, they were the Manchester United of their time, except, they were better.

Now this club is a shadow of what is once was. In all honesty they're rapidly becoming a Leeds United, a Newcastle United and if they're not careful they will go exactly the same way as those two once-proud clubs.

You think I'm joking? Have you looked at the books?

Liverpool FC is massively in debt. The promised stadium is now a pipe dream. A transfer kitty to match the elite? Please.

Hicks and Gillett may waffle on about how serviceable the debt is but if it was that easy to cough up millions in interest alone every year, they wouldn't be sniffing around the Middle East for backers would they?

The fact is this. What these two cowboys know about football could probably be fitted onto a pinhead — with room to spare. Seriously, if they knew anything about football they would never have given Rafael Benitez a new four-year deal. This piece of business reminds me of the FA's panic when it looked as though Sven Goran Eriksson was about to leave the England ship. Birds of a feather.

Simply put, Benitez has lived off that 'Istanbul Miracle' for far too long. His goose is now cooked and unfortunately it's going to cost the club a fortune that it can ill afford to send him back to Spain.

And please don't give me this 'Rafa is a genius' line. The man obviously does not inspire his players anymore (if he ever did). I was watching yesterday and I saw a team containing Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres go down without even a whimper to an average Arsenal team. I can't help but compare this to Manchester United in their match against Villa at Old Trafford.

United were hampered by injuries and weren't at their best, but at least they gave it a go. They tried. There was a whiff of passion in the air. You felt like an equalizer was inevitable as they poured forward. At Anfield it was a morgue. The game was up — it was over with 20 minutes to play.

Please tell me I'm wrong. I wish I was wrong, but I'm not.

Liverpool FC fans, whether you love them or hate them, are the most passionate, loyal and devoted fans in football. Their anthem is 'You'll never walk alone.' They don't turn on their club but I'm sorry, we've reached breaking point here.

Gerrard can no longer carry the club. Torres is too fragile to carry the club. Glenn Johnson can't defend for the club and the newest signing, Alberto Aquilani, doesn't look like he believes in the club.

The conventional wisdom in football is that you have to reach rock bottom before you can move on. Ask the Leeds United's etc when that moment arrives because I'm sure the goal posts move on a club-by-club, minute-by-minute basis. Personally I'd would love to know when that bottom will be reached because, I fear that there is still more heartache to come for Liverpool in this campaign.

Qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League is far from a certainty. The Premier League title is all but out of reach. Visiting clubs no longer fear Anfield.

All that is left is the FA Cup, a consolation prize even in the heyday of the 70's and 80's when they were the team to beat, to fear, to respect.

And here is when it starts getting really crazy. There are still twenty-two Premier League matches left and a squad full of international players whose eyes may start to wander off to South Africa. I'll let you fill in the pause.

My last thought on this subject concerns former chairman, David Moores. While you're counting your millions, sipping champagne and nibbling caviar from your private box at Anfield, do you ever get remorseful? Then I think to myself, of course not, you won, didn't you.

Enjoy the money sir. I hope it was worth your soul because after all, that is what you sold when the American snake oil salesman dazzled you on that February day.

Until then, I'll see you at the far post.

<i>FOX SOCCER Channel's </i><a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/writer/archive?authorId=205">Nick Webster</a> <i>writes about English soccer for FOXSoccer.com, and contributes </i><a href="http://blogs.foxsports.com/Nick_Webster">his blog</a> <i>to interact with his fans.</i>