Steven Gerrard has admitted that Liverpool are badly missing the influence of Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso, who quit Anfield for Real Madrid in a 30-million-pound deal in August.
Liverpool's Premier League and Champions League campaigns have been hit hard by the seven defeats the club has already suffered this season with the loss of Alonso widely seen as having upset the balance of Rafael Benitez's side.
Gerrard, currently sidelined by a groin injury, told FourFourTwo magazine he had been devastated by the departure of Alonso, whom he described as one of the world's best.
"Devastated, yeah. Devastated. But there was nothing I could do about it," the England midfielder said.
"Xabi said a long time ago that he wanted another chapter in his career and finally he got it and his team-mates and the coaches couldn't stand in his way. We just have to say thanks and move forward without him."
Gerrard added: "It's always going to be different when you lose one of the best players in the world - and people are finally realising that's what he is, on the back of his form for Real Madrid and the difference in us from last year.
"We've got other midfielders here doing a good job but it will take a while before Alonso's out of our system because he was such a top player."
Benitez signed Alberto Aquilani as a replacement for Alonso but the former Roma player missed the first two months of the season due to injury and has yet to demonstrate he can exert a similar level of influence on Liverpool's performances.