( dpa )- Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said on Monday that rumours about the future of their manager Rafael Benitez and the club's ownership are hurting the side on the pitch.
Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Monday was their fourth in succession, leaving them 14 points behind, and Gerrard said the players were being affected by the speculation.
"It's not just this week, it's been going on for some time and it's certainly not helping the players," he said.
"I've got to be careful what I say, but it's certainly not helping the team."
Liverpool's American owners George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks drew criticism from fans after they revealed that they had sounded out Jurgen Klinsmann as a possible replacement for Benitez last summer.
The BBC says that Dubai Investment Capital is trying to buy out the Americans and Gerrard said it was hard to focus on the pitch.
"We know what's going on, but as players you've got a job to do on the pitch and you try to put what's going on off the pitch to the back of your mind," he said.
"But sometimes it's impossible, when it is every day."