Liverpool have been in attacking identity crisis ever since the departure of Luis Suarez and Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood is the latest to pass comment.
Having lost the lynchpin of the rapid, forever-interchanging trident that took them to the verge of the Premier League title in 2013/14, the Reds decided to buy not one, but two more traditional number nines rather than source a similar replacement.
It was a decision that proved disastrous when both Rickie Lambert and particularly Mario Balotelli spectacularly failed to gel with the midfield chassis that had supported Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling so well a season earlier.
Yet, despite playing the latter as unconvincing false nine for much of 2014/15 rather than rely on either Lambert or Balotelli, it seems Liverpool remain unsure which form of attacking setup to favour.
It certainly seems that way if their reported transfer targets this summer are anything to go by, with the club heavily linked with moves for two strikers with very different skillsets.
The first, Burnley’s Danny Ings, a mobile and hard-working striker capable of exercising an entire back-four singlehandedly, would have fitted in nicely in the quicksilver, short-pass-exchanging trio of 2013/14.
Christian Benteke, their other commonly discussed target, while undoubtedly more effective this term, is more out of the Lambert or Balotelli mould, with the right kind of service (crosses into a box he can dominate) a prerequisite if he is to flourish.
That Liverpool haven’t providing it this term is fact that hasn’t been lost on Benteke’s manager at Aston Villa, Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood highlighted the fact that Liverpool attempted just 409 crosses this season, less than any other Premier League side, reminding reporters:
“We cross more balls into the box than any other club in the league and Christian has said that he feeds off crosses.”
Liverpool took steps towards abandoning Brendan Rodgers’ pace and passing-favouring attacking philosophy by signing two target men, but their coach failed to recalibrate his playing style to bring the best out of them.
Surely signing a third, for a reported £32.5m would mean a comprehensive abandoning of the principles that carried them to the brink of the league title?
Benteke is 7/4 to be stabled at Anfield by the close of the next transfer window, while he is evens to remain at Aston Villa.