Liverpool icon Alan Hansen believes the next Reds manager faces a major rebuilding job.
Rafa Benitez's six-year stay at Anfield ended by mutual consent on Thursday, with managing director Christian Purslow and Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish - the manager when they last won the league title in 1990 - leading the search for the new man.
But Hansen, who won eight league titles and three European Cups during his 13 years on Merseyside, believes the Reds are arguably in their worst state for over 50 years and the squad is weaker than when Benitez succeeded Gerard Houllier as boss six years ago.
Writing in his column in the Daily Telegraph, Hansen said: "I would imagine that the board will have a good idea who they want to bring in, but I don't have a preference, other than wanting somebody who will buy well and who will take the job under no illusions about the challenge he faces.
"Whoever comes in faces a mammoth task. You could be looking at three to four years before Liverpool get to where the club should be."
Benitez's most costly moves were in the transfer market, according to Hansen.
"He has spent too much money on average players and we are now seeing the fruits of that."