Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina admits it is currently impossible for them to compete with Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea and stressed things have to improve if they are to hold onto their star names.
Early-season struggles have left the Reds in ninth place in the league, prompting speculation about the futures of star names Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Reina himself.
A change of ownership in October saw New England Sports Ventures take control, but with the transfer window not opening until January they have not yet had a chance to turn their ambitious words into new signings.
Reina has warned his team-mates and the new owners that significant moves forward have to be made.
"We have to finish this season in a better position than we are at the moment and make sure we build for the next years and try to be competitive," said the Spain international.
"If not, it's going to be difficult for them to keep these kind of players.
"We have to be sure that we deliver better performances otherwise it's going to be really, really, really difficult (to finish in the top four).
"We are not probably as strong as Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham can be so that's why we have to make sure we build a better squad.
"At the moment, it's almost impossible to compete for nine months against Chelsea, for example, and that is what I want.
"The clubs all around England are building proper squads. We have to do the same and we have to be able to compete."
Reina heads to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham on Sunday looking to break a club record.
If he keeps a clean sheet, it will be his 100th in 197 league games - breaking Ray Clemence's record which was achieved in 217 outings.
Liverpool are also trying to improve on their woeful away form, which has seen them win twice in the league since last December.
"We are not playing well enough, especially away from home, and we have to make sure we improve this aspect otherwise we will be struggling," Reina told ESPNSoccernet.
"It's so difficult to go anywhere and beat teams but if we want to be up there at the end of the season, we have to."
Reina also defended manager Roy Hodgson, who has had to suffer some fans chanting the name of former player-boss Kenny Dalglish and criticism of his methods.
"Ideas in football are relatively important but what makes a system work are the players," he added.
"We are the ones who have to show a bit more on the pitch."
"Rafa [Benitez] was really beloved in Liverpool but I think it's about time that the fans get behind Roy 100%. I don't think it is heavy criticism out there anyway."