Daniel Sturridge's fall from magnificent and somehow still underrated scorer of copious goals to utterly forgotten man has been painful to witness. Injuries utterly ruined his first real shot at a leading-man role with the Reds following Luis Suarez departure in 2014, and a managerial change that saw pressing take precedence over pure in-the-box predation pushed him further down the ranks.
This season, Sturridge has earned only six league starts, clearly falling behind Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi on the depth chart, despite still getting among the goals when he steps on the pitch. The veteran savvy and ability to produce a moment of magic if gifted a yard of space in the box remains, but the former Chelsea man is clearly a step or three slower, and his ability to twist, turn and explode in order to create that yard of space for himself is significantly diminished.
Still only 27, there is — assuming he can stay healthy — plenty of time left for the English half of SAS to write more chapters in his career, but lack of playing time and a seemingly poor fit for his manager's preferred playing style means that the writing is on the wall regarding his future at Anfield, and most expect an exit this summer. All that remains is finding the right landing spot.
Enter Slaven Bilic — somehow still at West Ham, despite the club averaging half a point less per game than they did last season — who is in need of a goalscorer.
"We lacked a bit of spark, a bit of quality to make a good decision to do something," the Croatian remarked after his side failed to score against his former club on Saturday. "We are going to talk about the new season after this season. We've got positions we would like to fill.
"Last year we did something but we didn't fill all the positions. We wanted to, but it's not easy and it doesn't depend on you. You have to find the right player.
"The player you want has to be available and he has to choose you."
Bilic went on to discuss the prospect of a deal for Daniel Sturridge. "If you talk about Sturridge as a player, especially if you go back two or three seasons, he was unbelievable.
"But then, he wasn't a subject for West Ham. Now you can still see it when he plays. He plays very rarely but I watched Stoke against Liverpool the other day. He came on and, with a couple of passes, he broke their defence.
"So of course he is showing that when he plays, but he plays very rarely. When he is on fire, he is a great player. Is he the sort of striker we would look at? We are going to see. We have our list of strikers."
Sturridge still possesses the quality to score goals in the Premier League as long as he is able to get on the pitch, and while he still has two years left on his contract, it is assumed that the striker will be allowed to leave for a reasonable fee in the summer. Whether there is enough interest to spark a bidding war remains to be seen, but it appears certain that the only 20-goal striker that never got a song is set to leave Anfield at the end of the season.