Roy Hodgson will head out to the World Cup this week still waiting to hear whether he is going to be offered one of the biggest jobs in English football and become Liverpool boss.
The Fulham manager has made it clear to the Anfield hierarchy that he wants his future sorted out before he begins a stint as a pundit in South Africa.
Hodgson, who took Fulham to the Europa League final last season, feared he was being kept in reserve as Liverpool failed to attract a world-renowned coach such as Louis van Gaal, Guus Hiddink or Marcello Lippi.
But with a growing bandwagon of support for Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool have realised they must move quickly to stop themselves being pressurised into appointing the Scot.
They plan talks with 62-year-old Hodgson in the next 48 hours, while Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill could also be sounded out. Hodgson is due to fly to South Africa on Wednesday to work as a World Cup pundit for the BBC and Fulham hope Liverpool's hesitation will let them hang on to a manager who has turned them from relegation candidates to European finalists in less than three years.
A friend said: 'Why would Roy want to undertake a massive rebuilding job at Liverpool when they might lose Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano?
'Bill Shankly was only 42 when he went into Anfield - Roy's 20 years older than that. He is comfortable living in the south and has been active in arranging all of the club's pre-season friendlies.'
The key to Hodgson's future may depend on whether he believes he is the undisputed No1 choice at Anfield. Taking charge of one of Europe's traditional giants is an undoubted temptation for the current Manager of the Year. But he knows Liverpool are turning to him because other stellar names are not prepared to take up the challenge while the club are not in the Champions League.
To complicate matters, many fans want to see Dalglish in charge and past players have been queuing up to support his claims, to the irritation of some powerbrokers at the club.
Fulham would not be able to demand massive compensation for Hodgson, who signed a rolling one-year contract in March. But they hope the turmoil at Anfield will persuade him to have second thoughts.
Liverpool have been put up for sale by owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and a £350million debt is likely to curb spending unless key players are sold.
Former boss Rafa Benitez, now at Inter Milan, hopes to take advantage by swooping for Mascherano, Dirk Kuyt and Serbia midfielder Milan Jovanovic, who signed an agreement to join Liverpool from Standard Liege.
Some at Anfield prefer Hodgson to Dalglish, seeing him as the safe pair of hands needed to bring stability after a turbulent year. But others are concerned that Hodgson's only experience at such a big club came more than a decade ago with Inter Milan.