Jose Mourinho has delivered a damning indictment of Liverpool's current predicament under new boss Brendan Rodgers, insisting the 39-year-old cannot win the Premier League while he remains at Anfield.
Mourinho is a big fan of Rodgers, having worked with the Northern Irishman during his time at Chelsea. The Real Madrid boss rates him as a coach and as a person, but he fears for his future at Liverpool.
The Reds are yet to win a league game under Rodgers this season ahead of Sunday's encounter with Manchester United. And Rodgers has already been introduced to the financial shortcomings of the club after he released Andy Carroll on loan, only to see no new face arrive as replacement on transfer deadline day.
Mourinho sees that situation as indicative of the problems his old colleague faces at Liverpool, and he has ruled out the chance of the Reds winning the Premier League under his stewardship. In Mourinho's eyes, the Merseysiders should lower expectations and give their manager time to spark a change of culture at the club.
"Brendan can't be a champion with that team. He can't make miracles. And it's difficult because expectations are so high," Mourinho told Sky Sports News.
"The reality is that Liverpool are not the best team right now. Not even close. Other clubs are investing much more than they are.
"I hope he has time to build, because if he doesn't have the right players in his hand, it takes more time to build. I think he deserves that and - with time - he will improve them."
Asked who he thought would win the league this season, Mourinho failed to commit an answer, but he did express his admiration for the work done by Arsene Wenger - who continues to build quality teams despite regular departures of his best players.
"Man City have an incredible squad and can make quality rotations," Mourinho said. "Man United are Man United. Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't accept not winning the Premiership two seasons in a row.
"I like this Arsenal team, I like the way Arsene is building the team. I think they can be a positive surprise. I like this team more than the previous season."