Brendan Rodgers' days at Liverpool are numbered if he is unable to turnaround the club's dismal form this season, which sees them out of the Champions League and off the pace in the Premier League, according to former player Steve Nicol.
Despite guiding the Reds to the brink of a first league title since 1990 last season, a failure to replace the void left by Luis Suarez and a series of poor results at the start of this term sees the Northern Irishman under pressure at Anfield.
Central to Rodgers' problems has been the failure of the nine players signed by Liverpool during the summer transfer window (not including tenth signing Divock Origi, who is on loan at Lille) to adapt to the existing squad, with just two of those players included in the team that started the fatal 1-1 draw with FC Basel.
With the January transfer window likely to provided much-needed respite for Rodgers – with a striker likely to be top of his wish list – Nicol says the manner in which owners Fenway Sports Group back the manager will be an indicator over his future.
"If things don't change then ultimately Brendan will pay the price," Nicol told Talksport. "If this team keeps performing the way it is, I don't think they will have any other option [but to sack Rodgers].
"We are not even halfway through the season yet and I'm guessing most people don't expect Liverpool to get into the top four.
"We will find a lot out in the transfer window. He has spent a lot of money and the question will be, are the Fenway Group going to back him in the transfer window? If they don't, that tells you he has only got the second part of the season to at least get the performances better.
"The biggest surprise is how bad the performances are. The result against Basel was a complete disaster on so many levels. The performance level, the fact they are out of the Champions League and the fact they now go into the Europa League, which is going to do nothing but harm them in the Premier League.
"You really wonder where this team is going. He has tried to add to the squad to make it better and somehow it has turned the other way. It is a team that is completely rudderless.
"If you watched the game against Basel and the game against Sunderland, they don't look to have any imagination going forward, and defensively they look at odds. This is just a desperate time for Liverpool."