With the carrot of Champions League football not on offer, Liverpool have discovered a harsher new reality as transfer targets have being gazumped or chosen to sign for rivals.
The Reds already lost out on Phil Jones, Gael Clichy, and Ashley Young. Here’s some that have got away over the years....
Roy Evans couldn't get the board to sanction a £3million move for the then Bordeaux star. Zizou went on to win every accolade going, and rival Maradona and Pele as the world's greatest ever player. Unlucky Roy also missed out on Desailly and Thuram.
The Danish Prince was set to join Liverpool until contractual talks went pear-shaped. Speaking to the Liverpool FC official website Denmark's greatest player said: "Yes, in 1983 I had the opportunity to sign for Liverpool. We actually agreed a deal and I came over with my father to talk to Liverpool's representatives. We agreed a three-year contract and went away thinking it was all done.
"But two weeks later they came back saying they wanted to offer me the same package, but for four years because I was still young and needed time to develop. I was disappointed because although nothing had been signed, we had an agreement. “I decided not to join them and people thought I was crazy.
A promising youngster at Cobh Ramblers and under Brian Clough at Forest, Graeme Souness turned down the maestro that went onto become one of the world’s best midfielders. Souey felt Keane presented too much off the pitch troubles.
Looking set to sign for moneybags Blackburn, Keane was persuaded by Fergie to join him at the Theatre of Dreams, stepping in after Kenny Dalglish's team failed to conclude business by Friday, scheduling the signing of the contract for the following Monday morning.
Graeme Souness turned down Auxerre star Eric Cantona as he felt the French hothead could be a ‘problem’ Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Souness said: "After the game I was in my office and there was a French guy waiting to see me.
"It was Michael Platini.. He said he had a player for me. A player who'd had problems but would love to play for Liverpool. That player was Eric Cantona. At that time we didn't need any more problems so that was the one that get away."
Paul Lake's career was cruelly cut short by injury. The Manchester City legend is mentioned in the same breath as Colin Bell. Lake was athletic, dominant and skilful, and able to play anywhere across midfield and the back four. One of his greatest performances was during the 5-1 thrashing of Man United during the Maine Road massacre in 1989.
The true Blue looked destined to captain England for years to come.. Lake was included in Sir Bobby Robson's provisional Italia 90 squad but was destined to never win a full cap.
After Italia 90, Kenny Dalglish put in a £3million bid for the City starlet when the transfer record was £2.3 million - Gary Pallister's switch from Ayresome Park to Old Trafford. The extent and toll of Lake's ruptured cruciate ligament injury put paid to all that.
Roy Evans was point blank refused permission to speak to Sheringham by the board. Instead of partnering Robbie Fowler, Teddy became Alan Shearer's international foil, won the treble with Man United and played in the top flight until his forties.