Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson has warned new Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho he will have a difficult task prising Steven Gerrard away from Anfield.
The Portuguese, who will be unveiled as Madrid's new coach on Monday, spoke publicly on Thursday about his admiration for the Reds skipper - whom he has tried to sign on at least two other occasions while at Chelsea.
But Thompson said: "Without a doubt that is Mourinho. He doesn't care whether there are any rules or regulations about touting for players. Steven Gerrard is still a Liverpool player with a big contract and anyone else would be rapped on the knuckles."
Thompson said the continued debate about the future of Gerrard, Fernando Torres and manager Rafael Benitez, coupled with ongoing issues with the sale of the club, was having a negative effect on life at Anfield.
"Just before the season finished I said I was immensely worried about what was going to happen about the manager, the owners, the finances and most of all about the players," added Thompson.
"We see every day Steven Gerrard could be going, Fernando Torres could be going, and although they are preparing for a World Cup it is following them and they are always getting questions about it.
"It is negativity, negativity, negativity all the time and this is one of the institutions of English football.
"This is all about my football club and it is all wrong. I would just like a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel."