Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says the uncertainty surrounding the club and the future of manager Rafa Benitez is beginning to affect the players on the pitch.
Monday’s 2-2 home draw with Aston Villa leaves Liverpool fifth in the Premier League and 14 points adrift of joint leaders Manchester United and Arsenal.
Gerrard said: “It’s not just this week, it’s been going on for some time and it’s certainly not helping the players.
“I’ve got to be careful what I say, but it’s certainly not helping the team.
“We know what is going on, but as players you have got a job to do on the pitch.
“You try to put what is going on off the pitch to the back of your mind but sometimes it is impossible, when it is every day.”
Liverpool have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks over the ongoing speculation about Benitez’s future and the plans of American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Last week, Hicks admitted he had spoken to Jurgen Klinsmann in November about the possibility of replacing Benitez, before the German agreed to become Bayern Munich’s new coach at the start of next season.
More uncertainty concerns the ownership of the club with reports claiming that DIC, the investment arm of the Dubai government, is preparing to mount a takeover bid of the club. Hicks and Gillett, whose long-term commitment to the club has been questioned, have denied reports of an offer from DIC.
Manager Benitez refused to blame the speculation for his club’s recent poor run of results. The 2-2 draw with Villa was the sixth time Liverpool have been held at Anfield in the Premier League and their fourth successive home draw.
The Spaniard said: “If you win and you play well then obviously everyone is a lot happier and things are a lot easier.
“But I really don’t have too much information, I just keep preparing for games and try to win every game.
“I am trying not to think about this.”