The chapped face of out-in-the-cold, former pundit Alan Hansen has emerged at the window of the football expert clubhouse, mouthing words about his old club Liverpool as he observes with envy the warm innards of a building in which he was once a fixture.
His ramblings were focused around the number of high-class players the Reds must buy in order to mount a genuine title challenge:
“These players are not going to win the league, so realistically they probably need five major signings,” he said. “If they are going to have a real go it needs to be more like £200m – but you can’t just snap your fingers and solve the problem.”
Hansen’s right, upgrading Liverpool into league-winning material will take more than a snap of Jurgen Klopp’s fingers.
It’ll be a long and laborious process for the German tactician, but bringing in five world-class players would be a good starting point. To offset these new arrivals, however, Klopp must make sales and authorising these heads to roll might well be more important to the Reds’ evolution than any blockbuster buy.
An able midfielder he may be, but in terms of influence and ability, Henderson is some way off the precedent set by his positional peers of previous generations.
At the ripe age of 25 and a regular international, Liverpool could sell the former Sunderland star for a lot more than the £20m they paid for him, helping finance the spending spree Hansen dreams of.
A similar story applies to Lallana, who would fetch a fortune, but lacks speed and dynamism when compared to the attacking-midfielders who flourished under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.
Depending on who you ask, Sakho is either the best defender in the Reds ranks whose unjust marginalisation is inexplicable, or an unreliable, oft-haphazard buffoon who can count himself lucky he’s above Kolo Toure in the pecking order.
Either way, title winners need consistency and the 26-year-old offers no guarantee of that.
Not too shabby going forward, but plenty of questions regarding Moreno’s defensive prowess remain unanswered. Allegedly thought of highly in his homeland, the Spaniard would command a high transfer fee.
Most would argue the Brazilian as Liverpool’s best player, but is he really good enough to spearhead a team’s title charge?
His stats this term are up from last, but Gylfi Sigurdsson, Marko Arnautovic and Gini Wijnaldum are among the midfielders to have outscored Coutinho in 2015/16, while his five assists is a tally bested by two fellow Reds colleagues, as well as 11 from rival teams.
A good showing from the former Inter ace is essential if Liverpool are to overcome Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final this weekend, a feat they’re priced at 2/1 to achieve.