This has to be resolved.
Raheem Sterling no longer wants to play for Liverpool and, regardless of whether that sentiment is likely to change or not, the fracture in the relationship between the player and the club seems irreparable.
Even if Sterling wanted to perform a u-turn, he couldn’t. The acrimony between all parties is bubbling with such menace that his departure must now be inevitable and, for the sake of Liverpool’s internal harmony, must happen sooner rather than later.
In the shadow of this controversy, the club have had a strong Summer. Their recruitment has been decisive and positive and while not quite amounting to a statement of intent, the signings that have been made have changed the mood at Anfield. James Milner brings a wealth of Premier League experience and ability from Manchester City, Roberto Firmino is a truly intriguing prospect, and Danny Ings might well prove to be a very astute a capture. Off the pitch, too, the reshuffling of the coaching staff suggests that lingering problems have been identified and remedied and so, really, the fanbase should be buoyant.
But the Sterling mess is the shadow that nothing can escape and for as long as it continues the skies over Merseyside will be grey and lifeless.
Liverpool’s transfer-activity suggests that they have already made peace with a sale. The areas of the side which have been strengthened are those covered by Sterling, so his departure would seem to have little bearing on the preparations or prospects for the new season.
Viewed from that perspective, his sale - and the funds it would raise - can only be beneficial. Liverpool are in position to take advantage of the enormous premium which applies to all English players and, with £40m and upwards in potential revenue, the value they could obtain from his departure outweighs the benefits of his ability.
With each passing day, this situation gets worse. It’s becoming a drain on organisational energy and it continues to sap at club morale. To lose a key player to Manchester City will be a galling experience, especially for a club and a fanbase who are used to being at the top of the food chain, but that - regrettably - is now the common reality of English football. The clubs with the biggest teeth stalk the land and they will, as inevitably as night following day, take whatever they want.
Nobody is winning here, nobody looks good. Not Sterling, not his agent, not the fans who abuse him, and not the ex-players preaching their own values in the national papers.
This is a festering negative of a conflict and it desperately needs a resolution - and for no better reason than to allow an apparently positive future to come back into focus.