Steven Gerrard has pleaded with Liverpool's owners to give Rafa Benitez the cash he needs to turn the Anfield club into serious Premier League title challengers.
Benitez's side finished eight points behind champions Manchester United as their barren run without a league title extended to 18 years.
Although Liverpool were once again proved they can compete with the best in Europe by reaching the Champions League semi-finals, they never threatened to win the English championship.
Gerrard, 27, is convinced the only way Liverpool can close the gap is to spend big money on top players in the close-season. The England midfielder has told American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett they must give Benitez whatever he needs.
“The manager asks for more support in the transfer market in January, while we're all saying to ourselves this should have happened the previous summer,” he told the News of the World.
“The time to act is now, not in January when we're already too far behind.
“The manager knows where we need to strengthen and the players and fans have faith in Rafa – but he needs the backing to act on his plans.
“When the American owners came to Liverpool they told the players and fans they wanted the same as us.
“We all believed them when they made that promise and it's been repeated again since, so we're all desperate to see it happen.”
As Liverpool captain, Gerrard feels more responsibility than most for the team's failure to succeed in the league.
He has won every other major honour during his time at Anfield, so it is especially galling that the Reds have repeatedly faded out of the race before the final weeks of the season.
“It hurts more and more when we get to November or December every season and have to accept we're out of the title race again. Every year seems to be following the same routine,” he said.
“I've won every major honour at Liverpool except one. It hurts more and more not only to have never won the league, but to have never really gone close.
“It would be bad enough if we only narrowly missed out on the title, but we've never got to March or April recently and thought we were in contention.
“That's what we want more than anything at Anfield, but we'll only achieve that when everyone is working together for the same goal.”
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