Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces questions over his long-term future at Anfield after the club's exited the Champions League at the group stage following a 1-1 draw with FC Basel.
Fabian Frei's first-half goal edged the Swiss champions closer to the point they required to join unbeaten holders Real Madrid in the last 16, and though Steven Gerrard equalised with a superb 81<sup>st minute free kick, the Reds fell short of the victory they needed.
Lazar Markovic's red card for flicking out at Behrang Safari in the second half, the absence of injured attacking pair Daniel Sturridge and Mario Balotelli and a failure to win only one of their six groups matches contributed to Liverpool's downfall.
With Liverpool ninth in the Premier League, six points adrift of the top four having already lost six of their 15 league games this term, and the club now consigned to a Europa League place, Rodgers now faces concerns over his capacity to remain at the Merseyside club.
None of the signings made by Rodgers during the summer transfer window have made an impact this term, with the Northern Irishman's confidence in the new breed reflected in his team selection against Basel, with just two of the new additions – Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren – starting the club's most important game of the season.
The scrutiny over Rodgers' position has been accentuated by a series of influential former players, including Phil Thompson and Jamie Redknapp, who criticising the Liverpool boss for both his tactical approach against Basel and uncertain record in the transfer market.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Thompson, a three-time European Cup winner with Liverpool, said: "It's not been good enough, right from the start against Ludogorets on matchday one when we lost a goal late on and then got a penalty to get ourselves through it – that wasn't a good display.
"The manager has to have a good look at it – we've spoken about the change in personnel with his signings. Are they good enough to take over the mantle from Steven Gerrard? At the moment it's not been good enough.
"[Rodgers] certainly has to go into the transfer market and get quality. Instead of a whole load of players, maybe spend the money on top quality."
With the Liverpool manager entrusting many of the players who inspired a charge for the league title last season, the likes of Emre Can, Alberto Moreno, Adam Lallana and the eventually dismissed Markovic was left out from the start on Tuesday 9 December.
And that mistrust has led to accusations from ex-midfielder Redknapp that Rodgers is retreating on his summer investment.
"What happened has mirrored their Premier League form," he told Sky Sports. "The new signings haven't been up to scratch.
"Four of them - Lallana, Can, Moreno and Markovic were on the bench. This is the biggest game of the season and Brendan Rodgers isn't playing his big signings.
"As it stands at the moment, they are really, really poor. I feel sorry for them as there's no Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez has obviously gone.
"The players they have brought in have not played as expected to. [Mario] Balotelli has been a disaster signing and they have got to do better."