The summer transfer window was rightly dominated by talk of Liverpool signing a new central midfielder, with their inability to do so proving to be unacceptable.
We’re not counting Arthur, because I’m not even sure he’s a real person at this point!
Aurelien Tchouameni emerged as a genuine target but opted to join Real Madrid, and from that point on, Liverpool lazily sauntered their way towards a predictable midfield problem.
Fabinho and Jordan Henderson look a shadow of the players they once were; Thiago, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are too injury-prone; Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are footballers still learning their trade.
In terms of being the saviour of the Reds’ midfield crisis, no player has been mentioned more than Jude Bellingham – a player of incredible potential who is already enjoying a starring role for Borussia Dortmund at just 19 years of age.
He already has 108 appearances to his name for the Bundesliga giants, also winning 17 caps for England and surely starting for them at the upcoming World Cup.
On the face of it, Bellingham is the perfect player to join Liverpool next summer, with his exit from Dortmund almost guaranteed once this season reaches its conclusion.
He is technically sound, physically dominant, possesses leadership and is adept at thriving in both disciplined and more attack-minded roles. His respective averages of 2.7 tackles and 2.5 dribbles per game in the league this season are higher than any Reds player, let alone the midfielders.
For a long time, Jurgen Klopp’s men have felt like the front-runners to sign Bellingham, with his style of play perfect for them and plenty of complimentary words said between both parties.
The problem is, Liverpool are now doing their very best to ruin any chance they have of the move coming to fruition.
Bellingham may not be a player simply motivated by money, instead having a more grounded approach and wider outlook, but he will understandably demand Champions League football next season.
In that respect, Liverpool are getting themselves in a real mess, producing incomprehensibly lifeless performances and now drifting five points away from fourth place.
It is still early days, of course, and they have a game in hand on fourth-place Newcastle, but the nature of the performances and tiredness in the legs suggest that bad results will keep arriving throughout the campaign.
Liverpool should be using Bellingham as genuine inspiration for qualifying for the Champions League, with the Reds having every chance of getting their man if that happens.
Some have already been swift to say that the transfer won’t be happening, with many resigned to him being Man City or Real Madrid’s latest toy, but the Reds shouldn’t be ruled out.
Others will point towards Bellingham’s potential transfer fee and wages and say that FSG won’t even entertain the idea, but the money was there for Tchouameni and Klopp arguably wanted nobody else once he missed out on the Frenchman.
Is Bellingham to Liverpool a given if they finish in the top four? Of course not. But it is undeniable that Champions League qualification is their only hope of it happening.
Should that be achieved, it is easy to envisage the lure of Klopp, Anfield and some world-class players being too much for the footballing romantic Bellingham to turn down.