Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that he faces a rebuilding job to turn Liverpool into a top-four team this summer after seeing their hopes of Champions League qualification all but extinguished by defeat at Hull.
It left Rodgers’s side still seven points adrift of arch rivals Manchester United having used up their game in hand and once again underlined the frailties in his squad.
After selling Luis Suarez last summer and seeing strike partner Daniel Sturridge sidelined by injury for much of the season, Rodgers conceded that Liverpool lack star quality.
He said: ‘For supporters and players it’s always great if you can get in those marquee players that can really help you, the one or two that maybe we need.
‘The club are working very hard and the owners will support that. If they’re available and affordable, the club will do everything to get them.
‘That’s the challenge for me next season: building a team that can get through the rough waters.
‘There are a lot of fantastic players but at times in the season when it’s tough you have to get through that. If you’re going to make a challenge at the top end of the field like we did last year then you’re going to need that. We need to refocus and look to improve the squad.
‘It’s about the quality of players. (Philippe) Coutinho was outstanding tonight but he’s having to hold onto the ball for longer periods. He’s looking for those runs and type of movement that he’s had here for a couple of years and maybe isn’t there so much.
‘You can’t hide form the fact that we’ve lost over 50 goals – the reality is that isn’t in the team anymore. You’re going to struggle to maintain the level you were at. Even with Suarez and Sturridge and those players we weren’t tipped to be in the top-four. We were written off.
'We haven’t now got them and the challenge is even greater for us. Luis gone and Daniel injured for most of the season.’
More than half the away section of the KC Stadium was empty as Liverpool fans boycotted the game in protest over the price of watching Premier League football. Tickets for last night’s game were £50, up from £35 last season.
There was a 300-strong protest at Anfield before kick-off and a simultaneous demonstration outside the Premier League offices in London, all organised by supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly who were delighted with the response.
‘Tonight’s protest against ticket prices has been a massive success,’ read a statement. ‘Initial estimates from sources and from pictures are that over half of all tickets for the away end have gone unused. This has exceeded our initial expectations.
‘We never expected an empty away end. We had not anticipated such a strong show of support. However what this protest has shown is that supporters up and down the country are angry, that so many people are supportive of our message and that supporters at LFC are prepared to step up in the fight for more affordable football. Enough is Enough.’