Liverpool are considered to be missing Philippe Coutinho, with Danny Murphy suggesting that a lack of midfield creativity is responsible for a stumble in the club’s Premier League title bid.
The Reds have hardly been short on firepower this season, with Manchester City the only side to have found the target on more occasions.
They have, however, drawn a blank in three of their last four outings across all competitions.
Goalless draws have been taken in at Manchester United and Everton in successive away games, with the dropping of four precious points seeing them slip to second in the table.
Murphy believes those at Anfield are paying the price for having failed to properly replace Brazil international Coutinho, who completed a big-money move to Barcelona in January 2018.
The former Reds midfielder told Match of the Day 2: “I think if you ask Liverpool supporters if they would like that kind of player back ie. Coutinho then yes of course.
“I think it is always best to have one and they don’t have one that you can hang your hat on at the moment in that role.
“But Liverpool are one point behind City now after finishing 19 points behind them last season.
“So they are competing with them and nobody gave them a shout of the title at this stage of the season.”
Liverpool did spend big during the summer transfer window of 2018.
Among those drafted in were midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho, with the latter proving to be a useful versatile asset.
An attacking spark was also found when luring Xherdan Shaqiri away from Stoke City.
None of those additions are seen as Coutinho successors, though, and more money may need to be spent in search of cover.
The Reds came close to taking World Cup winner Nabil Fekir from Lyon before walking away from a deal and it could be that he, or another player of his ilk, come back onto the recruitment radar when the window swings open again at the end of the season.