It was tough watching Liverpool toil against Real Madrid in the Champions League last week.
A team that was regularly accused of being too gung-ho in attack somehow seemed to have lost its magic in front of goal.
The dip in form over the last 12 months has been remarkable – a team that won the Premier League title by an 18-point margin are now 22 points off top spot.
I don’t believe this is a time to panic for Jurgen Klopp but, and it’s an important but, I do believe the team needs some key signings to inject freshness.
This fact stands out for me: When Liverpool and Real Madrid met in the Champions League final in 2018, Klopp’s team included seven of those who started at Anfield on Wednesday.
On the one hand that illustrates commendable consistency; on the other hand, especially given current form, it signals that changes are needed.
Virgil van Dijk’s return for the start of next season will feel like a new signing but Liverpool still need more cover at centre-back.
Too much reliance is placed on Van Dijk and his knee injury highlighted the need for more cover. If the rumours of Ibrahima Konate coming from RB Leipzig are true, then that would be an excellent signing.
Diogo Jota has been a big success up front since his summer move from Wolves but Liverpool desperately need another central striker. Roberto Firmino’s form has fluctuated a lot this season and more competition is needed in attack. I would also like to see Klopp bring in more cover at right-back.
A big talking point for many Liverpool fans is the centre of the park, with many looking for a new creative midfielder.
I understand the concerns. Jordan Henderson is in his 30s and increasingly susceptible to injury, and Georginio Wijnaldum has done nothing to shoot down suggestions that he will leave at the end of the season.
Yet I don’t share this belief that a new midfielder needs to be the creative type.
Klopp’s side have always attacked down the flanks while being held together by an industrious midfield. The attacking threat from the wings will still be there next season through the likes of Mo Salah, so if Liverpool invest in a new midfielder then I would like to see someone who fits the current mould.
Liverpool have a very important summer coming up. They need to make some good signings but they don’t need to rip this team apart.
With two or three quality signings, plus the return of the commanding Van Dijk, it would take a brave man to rule them out of any trophy at the start of next season.
If they fail to clinch a top-four slot – they will move into the top four with victory at Leeds tonight – and miss out on Champions League football next season, that will increase the pressure on Klopp and his staff.
But calm heads are needed right now at Anfield.
With a good summer, Liverpool’s revival next season could be just as remarkable as their collapse this season.