Liverpool came into January surrounded by whispers of deals for the likes of Sevilla's Ivan Rakitic and FC Basel's Mohamed Salah being close at hand. Now the winter's transfer window is more than half way through and not only have no new signings arrived at Anfield, but Brendan Rodgers has admitted nothing is imminent.
"There are no real developments yet," said the Liverpool manager when asked if any transfer deals were close to being completed at his pre-Aston Villa press conference. "We've been working over a number of months on possibilities that could strengthen the team. We just need to wait and see how that goes in the next couple of weeks."
Not only is the January transfer window past its half-way mark, but so too is the season. Liverpool have now played 21 of 38 league games, and if there is to be a push to either lock down a top four finish or perhaps even to challenge for the title, now is the time for Rodgers and the club to signal their intent with a signing that can walk into the first eleven.
Everton currently stand a point behind Liverpool in fifth, with Tottenham and Manchester United two and five points back in sixth and seventh. Meanwhile, Arsenal winning on Monday has given the Gunners a six point lead on Liverpool at the top of the table with title favourites Manchester City and Chelsea close behind. Despite this, Rodgers insists he isn't worried.
"I'm not concerned," he said. "The owners have been great in terms of if there's something there to be done that will help us and improve us I'm sure they'll support that, but it's one where it could be a difficult market to improve in. You see it across the market, clubs are just looking and seeing where they can improve. It's similar to ourselves."
Managers often speak of January as a poor market, but Liverpool still managed a pair of impact signings last year in Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. Two years earlier, they brought in Luis Suarez. It may be the more difficult of the two transfer windows, but making a major signing isn't impossible, and for Liverpool's chances this season it could prove integral.
"It certainly won't be for the want of trying," Rodgers added. "There's a lot of good work going on; we're assessing a whole raft of players. It's just whether they are going to be available for us to bring in now."
Sixteen days down; fifteen to go. For Rodgers and Liverpool, after an unexpectedly strong first half of the season, it's time to turn that work into something tangible—the kind of signing that can secure a top four finish.