Departing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists he is not pointing the finger but the revelation he would have signed a new contract last summer leaves the Reds' hierarchy with questions to answer.
The midfielder, who turns 35 in May, will leave the club he has been associated with since he was eight at the end of the season after turning down a new deal.
That offer was made in November but had it come three months earlier the Reds would still be looking forward to another season with their inspirational captain.
If a contract had been put in front of me in pre-season I would have signed it. I'd just retired from England to concentrate all my efforts on Liverpool. I didn't want my club games to be tailored.
My injury record had been fantastic for the past two and a half years and I had a great season from a personal point of view last season.
It's all ifs, buts and hindsight now. That period between the summer and the end of November gave me thinking time.
"It is almost an impossible task to find the words to appropriately sum up Steven Gerrard and his importance to Liverpool.
"This is an era where the word 'legend' is vastly overused, but in his case it actually doesn't do him justice."
Quoted on the Liverpool website, Steven Gerrard said:
This has been the toughest decision of my life and one which both me and my family have agonised over for a good deal of time.
I am making the announcement now so that the manager and the team are not distracted by stories or speculation about my future.
Liverpool Football Club has been such a huge part of all our lives for so long and saying goodbye is going to be difficult, but I feel it's something that's in the best interests of all involved, including my family and the club itself.
I'm going to carry on playing and although I can't confirm at this stage where that will be, I can say it will be somewhere that means I won't be playing for a competing club and will not therefore be lining up against Liverpool - that is something I could never contemplate.
Liverpool have confirmed that captain Steven Gerrard will leave the club at the end of the season.
Former England footballer Gary Lineker has hailed Steven Gerrard as "one of the finest players" to have graced the Premier League.
The sports broadcaster said Gerrard was a "top, top player".
Seems Steven Gerrard is set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. One of the finest players to have graced the PL. A top, top player.
Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has said Steven Gerrard's reported decision to leave Liverpool is a "sad day" for the club and English football.
The pundit added that he believed it was the "right decision".
Sad day for Lfc & English football with the Gerrard news, I think it's the right decision all things considered.
The Liverpool captain will reportedly announce tomorrow that he will leave Anfield when his contract expires at the end of the season.Read the full story ›
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been fined £25,000, suspended for a match and ordered to attend an "education programme" by the FA as punishment for an Instagram post that provoked claims of racism and anti-semitism.
Balotelli admitted breaching FA rules after apologising for re-posting an image from the computer game 'Super Mario' on his Instagram page which included the comment "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew".
The Football Association confirmed the punishment, announcing:
Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today, Mario Balotelli has been fined £25,000, suspended for one-match with immediate effect, subject to any appeal, and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted breaching FA Rules in relation to social media.
The charge was that an image the Liverpool player posted on social media was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper, contrary to FA Rule E3(1).
Furthermore, the posting was considered to be an “Aggravated Breach” as defined in FA Rule E3(2) in that it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality and/or religion or belief.
Mr Balotelli has also been ordered to attend an education programme.
Liverpool have agreed to sign Mexican international goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa for £3m in January, according to reports.
The Malaga stopper put in a string of impressive displays at the 2014 World Cup, particularly against hosts Brazil when he managed to keep all of their attacking players at bay.
Liverpool's number one Simon Mignolet was dropped for Sunday's match against Man United after his performances received widespread criticism leading up to the fixture.
Talks between Liverpool and Raheem Sterling have stalled with the youngster deciding the club's £70,000 a week offer is unacceptableRead the full story ›