Liverpool must not wait on Nabil Fekir like with Van Dijk
Liverpool's summer recruitment was going according to plan. Naby Keita will arrive after penning a deal last August. Monaco's Fabinho had been secured in impressively swift, secretive fashion. The Merseysiders were also close to adding Nabil Fekir.
Signing the Olympique Lyon attacker would be another major coup, not only providing a direct replacement for Philippe Coutinho, he can control the Reds' midfield in a way Jurgen Klopp sorely craves.
Surprisingly, it soon came crashing down. Liverpool saw an issue in Fekir's medical; Lyon felt slighted and refused to sell.
Hopes of reviving the deal appear slim at best. Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, who is well known as a tough negotiator, didn't hold back: ''Remember with Van Dijk? They (Liverpool) gave him no choice but to go on strike, now they want to get in Fekir's mind. Jurgen Klopp is the devil."
The similarities to last summer's failed pursuit of Virgil van Dijk are evident for all to see.
There, too, the Reds were heavily linked with a player, submitted their bid, only to eventually miss out when Southampton became disgruntled.
In that particular case, Klopp did not turn attention to another target. The German elected to stick with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan for the season's first half until Van Dijk arrived.
Liverpool cannot afford a repeat this summer. They must search beyond Fekir. Van Dijk's impact on the side is proof enough.
Aside from vastly improving an unreliable defence, the Dutchman's class helped elevate the Reds to a new level.
Liverpool's Plan A, the Blitzkrieg approach, has proven successful. However, Klopp knows his side need more to be considered true contenders both domestically and in Europe.
There is a reason they finished 25 points behind Premier League champions Manchester City and were outclassed by Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Adding players such as Keita, Fabinho and Fekir is a major step toward closing that gap. Two of the three-pronged improvement has been assembled; the Reds must not wait for the third.
If that does happen, it could leave them falling further behind. At this moment in time, they have an opportunity which cannot be passed up.
Despite not lifting a trophy, Liverpool can take many positives from this season. It should be used as the platform for real, tangible success in the near future.
Adding a quality number ten would push them even closer to fully satisfying their fan base. Failure to do so, however, could leave them battling for another top-four finish.
The Reds' squad is good, but it's not yet capable of winning the title.
That was sorely felt when they missed out on Van Dijk last summer. Had he featured all campaign, the huge gap to City would have been considerably smaller.
In this current Premier League era, when the gulf between the top teams and pretenders will only continue to grow, Liverpool must improve once again.
If not, it will leave more than the fans feeling disillusioned. That outcome would be disappointing considering Klopp is within touching distance of creating a great side.