“Liverpool could have been relegated”

“It was clear that we were nowhere near the level that we wanted to be at. When there are problems at a big club and the atmosphere turns, one of the first comments to be made is always that the manager has lost the dressing room.

“In this case there were still players who supported the manager, but obviously there were others who were not too happy with him for different reasons.

“My own opinion was clear – I liked Rafa and continued to support him – but I cannot speak for everyone.

“Sadly for Rafa, we went from second place in the Premier League one season to seventh place the next and that was always going to result in him coming under pressure.

“One of the problems we had was that we had lost some good players – Xabi Alonso, Peter Crouch and Jermaine Pennant – but never really replaced them.

“Signings were made with the idea of making improvements to the team, but the reality was that the ones who came in were not of the same standard as the ones who had left.

“You can look at the players who came in and ask why they didn’t deliver, because no footballer can ever be free of responsibility.

“But, in football, the buck always stops with the manager. If he makes signings that don’t work out then it won’t be long before the people who run the club are going to ask questions.

“Had someone said to me at the end of the 2008-09 season, when we came so close to winning the league, that just 12 months later the manager would be gone, I wouldn’t have believed them,” he added.

“But that is football. It is not about what you might have done in the past, it is about what you are doing in the here and now and what you are going to do in the future.

“None of us can live on past glories.

“The moment any of us think that we can is the moment that decisions about our future are taken out of our hands – if I have a really poor season in goal, the chances are that Liverpool will start looking at the possibility of replacing me.”