THIS time last season, the reds of Liverpool were about to embark upon one of the most incredible title challenges in recent years.
They sat comfortably in fourth, riding high on the back of the fearful “SAS” duo of Daniel Sturridge (pictured) and Luis Suarez who had already racked up 18 goals between them, two goals more than the entire team has scored thus far in the new season.
The picture of today’s team is a very different story. After the sale of talisman Suarez to Barcelona and the disastrous injury run that has befallen Sturridge, they have been left desperately lacking in creativity, pace and bite up front.
The reds limp attack has offered very little to cause sleepless nights among opposition defenders, a trait that was so evident in every game last season.
Without the deadly duo up front, the defensive frailties have been exposed to such an extent that it has almost become embarrassing.
Do not get me wrong, last season the Reds defence was poor to say the least, but they somehow managed to outscore the opposition in nearly every game as that man Suarez led them to win after win with his magical touch in front of goal.
Raheem Sterling is as far as one needs to look to understand how much Suarez is being missed at Anfield.
The 19-year-old is buckling under the weight of pressure and expectation that has been lumped on his shoulders without his striking partners alongside him, a pair with whom he formed such a lethal partnership last season.
He has been plagued by under par performances and looks a shadow of the player he was when he had Suarez to run off.
Steven Gerrard is a mental wreck, yet to recover from potentially the most difficult six months of his long career.
It was his slip against Chelsea on that fateful day at Anfield that has been widely labelled as the moment that Liverpool lost their grip on the title.
And then, to compound his mental difficulties, he skippered an England team that put in one of its worst World Cup performances in recent memory, being knocked out before the group stage was even complete.
He then lost a close friend and his main partner in crime when Suarez signed for Barcelona. Can you blame the man for not being at his best this season?
The signings brought in to try and replace the enigmatic Uruguayan have not been of much help either to an already shaky ship.
Over £100 million was spent on players who are yet to adapt to the Premier League and have shown little promise to do so.
Dejan Lovren, who was purchased to be the defensive leader for a whopping £20 million, has spent most of his time missing in action and is part of a defensive unit that has shipped 18 goals already.
Adam Lallana has been far too inconsistent, Lazar Markovic is nowhere close to being of a Barclays Premier League standard and do not even get me started on Mario Balotelli.
The only source of encouragement would be Rickie Lambert, who has finally started scoring some goals.
Manager Brendan Rodgers tactics in the transfer market were naive at best and his team is suffering because of it.
However, the Reds did break a miserable five-game streak without a win, against Stoke at the weekend, even managing to keep a clean sheet for the first time in five games.
Perhaps, and I say this tentatively, a corner has been turned in their stuttering season.