Liverpool kissed goodbye to the only chance they had of clinching silverware this season on Thursday night, despite a dominant 3-1 Europa League, second leg victory over Zenit St Petersburg at Anfield.
The damage had already been inflicted when they failed to score in Russia during a 2-0 defeat that Brendan Rodgers inexcusably described as "near perfect."
Rodgers was in upbeat mood after the second leg, too, and despite so far achieving less than Kenny Dalglish had at this stage last year, there is a sense that he does have the club moving in the right direction. "In sixth months, 12 months' time, we won't be making those mistakes," claimed the current Liverpool manager in light of the Zenit defeat.
So if there are reasons to be positive about Rodgers' Reds, what areas need addressing to turn that positivity into improved results? We've got the stats that reveal all, including their Premier League ranking in each area this season…
Blocks, clearances and interceptions
Although Liverpool can be considered Champions League-standard when it comes to passing stats, they must brush up on defending to challenge for a top four place.
Ranked as the Premier League's worst at blocks, clearances and interceptions, it suggests they will require more tenacity to compliment the pretty style of football being developed under the current regime.
Southampton's defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is statisically among the top flight's finest in this area - could the Reds make a move for the Frenchman? Or can Brendan Rodgers coax the best out of Lucas? With Jamie Carragher retiring and question marks over Sebastian Coates' future at Anfield, centre-back will need strengthening and how Rodgers fares in the transfer market when shopping for defenders could make or break Liverpool's progress under his management.
Liverpool enjoy spraying the ball around on the deck, but there's more than one way to score a goal, so it's important they make the most of any opportunities to cross from wide positions. Unfortunately, they don't.
It's hardly surprising when Luis Suarez - one of the Premier League's smaller strikers - often finds himself isolated up front. Perhaps having Andy Carroll in the squad as a completely different option would have been a clever idea, after all?
The likes of Kevin Mirallas, Yohan Cabaye and Leighton Baines are among the Premier League's finest for cross completion, but they may have plenty to do with the style their managers demand. Stewart Downing is well capable of delivering a killer cross, as is Steven Gerrard. Rodgers may need to vary Liverpool's attacking style, as the best teams - like Manchester United - do.
Arguably the Reds' biggest problem still comes in front of goal. They have fired off more shots than any other Premier League team this season, but frustratingly they are the worst team at converting their shots into goals.
As we publish this article, Luis Suarez is trailing Robin van Persie by just one goal in the league's goalscoring charts with 18, so what's going wrong? Before Daniel Sturridge moved to Anfield from Chelsea, Suarez was the only senior striker at the club. At Man United, in addition to RVP, there is Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez to pick and choose from.
Liverpool already seem a completely different proposition with Sturridge in the side, and it showed when he missed recent defeats to West Brom and Zenit, through injury.
The answer? More quality options up front and more than just Steven Gerrard in midfield, who is capable of scoring more than two or three goals per season (Kopites will be hoping Phillipe Coutinho contributes in that area).
Where do you think Liverpool need to improve to be a real force again? Let us know by leaving a comment below...