Much like the dreaded second-album syndrome faced by breakthrough musicians, Liverpool are suffering from an acute case of second-season disorder, but a cure is at hand.
The unlikely source of this vaccine is Welsh midfielder Joe Allen.
He may be eclipsed by Aaron Ramsey at international level and valued far less than newly appointed Reds vice-captain Jordan Henderson by fans, but he’s key to putting Liverpool back on track.
Allen took part in two of Liverpool’s only three wins so far this season, including a dazzling, penalty-winning display in his side’s 3-0 thumping of Tottenham.
This remains the Merseysiders’ only performance to have matched the golden standards of the previous campaign and it’s no coincidence that Allen has not featured since then through injury.
In his absence the Reds have sustained real damage to their aspirations both domestically and on the continent.
Most recently Brendan Rodgers’ incoherent side slumped to a 1-0 defeat in Basel, to cap off a September period where a solitary Premier League point from nine available was attained.
Languishing in 14th, Liverpool are still 13/10 to break the top four, though 33/1 to win the title shows the true gravity of their decline from champions elect with three games to go last season.
What Liverpool require in such tough times is a reversion to the tactics which propelled them to the heights last season; high-pressing and quick passing.
Allen’s qualities fit that style like a hand-warming garment. The man Rodgers saw fit to splash £15m on to bring with him to Anfield is Henderson’s only competition for levels of industry.
He’s also a blooming tidy footballer, who doesn’t concede possession readily and is accurate with his passing – something sorely lacking from a Liverpool perspective in 2014/15.
From 15 Premier League games the Welshman started last season only Manchester City and Chelsea (twice) bettered Liverpool, while the eventual runners-up won ten of those.
An understandably bewildered Steven Gerrard blasted his teammates for their “soft” approach in Basel and that is not something Allen would care to be associated with.
It would be foolish to suggest his imminent reintegration will turn the tide single-handedly, but Liverpool are crying out for his assured services heading into the international break in disarray.