Former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson believes that failing to qualify for the Champions League has cost the club the services of Raheem Sterling next season.
The England international is currently stalling on a new contract with the Merseyside club as holds for a better financial package and awaits developments in interest from linked clubs.
La Liga duo Barcelona and Real Madrid have been interested, although the former are banned from making transfers until January 2016 and the latter have identified other transfer targets for the summer.
Man City have also been keen and Thompson now believes that Liverpool will lose the winger due to their failure to failure to qualify for Europe.
He told Sky Sports: “I think it will be very difficult for him to stay at Liverpool now. He’s shown all the signs that he’s ready and prepared to leave the club.
“But if he was to stay I would like to think his role will be on the flanks – I don’t think Liverpool can even contemplate him being their main striker next season, because he’s not a natural goalscorer.
“Liverpool need somebody who’s going to get you at least 15 league goals and maybe 25 overall – Raheem Sterling is not going to get you that.
“He’s done well for the team – he’s helped them out up front this season, but I think everyone can see that he’s not quite strong enough for it.
“So, no matter where he is next season, I think his best role is out wide rather than through the middle.”
Meanwhile, the Reds are closing in on the summer signing of Danny Ings, who is available on a free transfer.
Ings has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks but boss Brendan Rodgers has moved quickly to agree a deal for the English striker.