We knew that Liverpool would sign some midfielders this summer. The engine room effectively broke down last season and the Reds unravelled as a result, failing to finish in the Premier League's top four. As such, reinforcements were essential, even just from a numbers perspective, with the likes of James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all heading for the exit door.
It came as no surprise, then, to see Liverpool move quickly in the transfer market, adding some much-needed dynamism and creativity to the midfield by activating buy-out clauses to bring in both Alexis Mac Allister, from Brighton, and RB Leipzig's Dominik Szoboszlai.
What we didn't expect, though, was a complete clear-out, an absolute overhaul of the entire department - and yet that's exactly what has played out, with Liverpool having made the surprising decision to cash in on both first-choice No.6 Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson, who often stood in for the Brazilian in front of the back four.
As a result, at least one more signing is required, a defensive midfielder of considerable skill and stature to tie the whole midfield together. For a long time, Romeo Lavia looked like being that player. However, Chelsea now look likely to beat the Reds to Lavia's signature.
It's a bitter blow, especially considering the Blues already secured the services of Moises Caicedo ahead of Liverpool this week, and it leaves the club in a seriously tricky position. The clock is ticking towards Deadline Day and the Reds seem a million miles away from securing the holding midfield player that they so desperately need.
Ahead of what is set to be a frenetic final few weeks of the summer, GOAL takes a look at the alternative targets Liverpool could look to sign...