Liverpool fans might reflect on the last summer transfer window as one of the worst in recent memory.
Unfortunately for them, though, next year looks set to be even more trying unless they can convince key players their potential measures up to their ambition.
Philippe Coutinho stayed at Anfield off the back of the Reds’ dogged efforts to keep him from Barcelona, though their resistance could be made redundant six months from now.
Jurgen Klopp can only be relieved to have held onto his most crucial player for another season, but he must be aware of the need to prepare for his anticipated departure come June.
With that in mind, the German and his scouts are surely laying the groundwork to secure an adequate replacement for the 2018-19 campaign.
However, Liverpool may not have such a generous grace period to address other potential vacancies in the squad next summer.
Currently sitting fifth in the Premier League and 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, the title is very unlikely to end up in the red half of Merseyside for the first time since 1990.
On the Champions League front, they’re leading Group E – arguably the easiest draw of all English clubs in the competition with Sevilla, Spartak Moscow and Maribor for company.
An unlikely foray deep into the knockout stages could persuade the likes of Coutinho to continue under Klopp, but then again, other sides regularly scale such heights with ease.
That unknown factor stands to harm Liverpool in the coming transfer windows, and with another key man linked with a domestic rival, they best be ready to put up a fight.
The Liverpool Echo claim Manchester City are eager to sign Emre Can on a free transfer when his contract expires next summer.
The German international – whose employers are unwilling to include a release clause in any potential new deal – is understood to be close friends with City winger Leroy Sane.
Pep Guardiola has emerged as the manager most likely to get his hands on Can following rumours he wanted to leave England with a view to joining Juventus.
If Liverpool refuse to bow to his demands and no other offers come through, his relationship with the former Schalke ace might be a telling factor regarding which shirt he wears on day one of the 2018-19 campaign.
Can Liverpool afford to sell Can? Let us know what you think in the comments!