There's no shame in admitting to feeling a tinge of disappointment when the news broke that Timo Werner is signing for Chelsea.
He's one of the most lethal forwards in the world at present, and everything - from the external reports to his ostentatious media flirting with Jurgen Klopp - seemed to suggest the move was on.
There were doubts about the Reds' willingness to spend big on a new forward this summer, but even the most pragmatic assessments of the situation - in contrast to more ambitious links with Kylian Mbappé and Kai Havertz - refused to rule it out completely.
Unless there is a fairly dramatic change in circumstances, however, it looks as if the game's a bogey. As we move into the final two weeks in which his modest €55-60m release clause is said to be active, Liverpool are yet to make an offer, while the Blues have moved decisively.
It's to Chelsea's credit; there probably isn't a better pure striker around at present for anything like this price, and they have taken advantage of the situation to secure his services for a relative snip.
Just because Werner's arrival will be heralded at celebrated at Stamford Bridge, however, doesn't mean it merits criticism at Anfield.
While a little frustration can be forgiven, given Liverpool's lack of movement on the deal they have been considering for what seems like an age, the situation is more complicated than it seems.
Their hesitance, firstly, comes as the result of the diligent, patient transfer strategy which allowed them to build a Champions League-winning team on a net transfer spend of less than £100m over four seasons. That strategy only works if it is universally uncompromising.
With that in mind, spending the sort of fee on Werner that they have only previously shelled out for Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk - specialist improvements on problem positions - requires a good deal of consideration.
If a consequence of that consideration is occasionally being beaten to the punch by a team more willing to take a risk, then that is viewed as an occupational hazard.
The fee is not the only financial concern either. There have been claims that Chelsea are to offer Werner £200,000 per week, the sort of money which blows Liverpool's starting salaries out of the water.
Werner would be a great addition, but if Chelsea are paying him £200,000 PW Liverpool would be under a lot of financial pressure if he came & earned that. What if he didn't start and regular starters were on less, they'd have every right to want more. Could cause a domino effect.— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) June 5, 2020
According to sport contract resource Spotrac, the only Liverpool player earning £200,000 per week is Mohamed Salah, while Van Dijk - who signed for £75m in 2018 and has since renewed his terms - earns £180,000.
The consequences of offering similar terms to what Chelsea have reportedly tabled, then, are clear - it could easily unravel the carefully crafted balance of the squad, as well as having a knock-on effect on the expectations of any future signings.
Manchester United - who had to offer David De Gea close to £400,000 after Alexis Sanchez knocked their wage structure for six - serve as a warning sign for how easily that can happen.
The footballing benefits of a potential deal for Liverpool are obvious; Werner is a world class forward who is a clear improvement on the likes of Divock Origi or even Takumi Minamino, and has previously stated that he would be willing to fight for his spot.
Defenders trying to bring him down not once, but twice. Timo Werner would take the Premier League by storm! ⚡️pic.twitter.com/ZW8zS3pwiU— 90min (@90min_Football) June 5, 2020
But even putting lack of football that would be readily available to him to one side, you get the impression this might be missing the point. He may currently thrive in a RB Leipzig system which is broadly similar to the one on which Klopp has made his name, but the current Liverpool team - far more measured and mature than anything Werner has been a part of in his career so far - doesn't necessarily fit the player as well as has been touted.
Considering Werner would represent the third highest transfer fee in their history, Liverpool's hesitance may well stem from the fact that he is a risk they are not set on taking - especially in the current coronavirus-ravaged financial crisis.
It may be a touch deflating to see Werner - a player we had all pictured in red - closing in on a move to London.
But it's important, at the same time, to keep an eye on the bigger picture. It's not a lack of ambition from owners who are sucking the club dry - leave that to Arsenal.
Instead, it's the end result of a carefully calculated strategy that has restored Liverpool to the height of the European game, and has them on the verge of being crowned Premier League champions for the first time in 30 years.
For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!
Source : 90min