Liverpool’s transfer targets were known long before the season had finished. The club had done their homework, identified players, and set about securing them in time for the start of the 2017/18 season.
Newly-promoted sporting director Michael Edwards had a list of players which satisfied the recruitment team at the club, and will have been okayed by everyone from the scouts and analysts, to the manager Jürgen Klopp and his trusty assistant on these matters, Peter Krawietz.
The problem for Liverpool was that it wasn’t just their staff who knew of the players they were targeting this summer, the whole world knew who topped their shortlists thanks to leaks to the press which accompanied their pursuits of Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, and Naby Keïta.
While all the blame can’t lie at Liverpool’s door for these leaks, as much of the stray talk came from players' agents, or from sightings of Klopp on days out with players in seaside towns, they might have done more to ensure they controlled all aspects of the transfer process, including keeping the agencies onside.
The early transfer rumours revolved around these three players, and there were daily reports on the latest developments which helped fill many a column inch in what could have easily been a post-season lull for the papers.
While the media took this unexpected early window win and ran with it, Liverpool looked lost in transfer window no man’s land, having agreed deals in principle with players but nowhere near agreeing terms with their clubs.
Following the leaks every last drop has been squeezed out of these stories, and still they rumble on. Leipzig’s Sporting Director, Ralf Rangnick is a more familiar name to Liverpool fans than their club’s equivalent, and Keïta’s name has taken on an otherworldly status beyond that of a footballer.
But since those early leaks?
Not a peep has been heard from any substantial or reputable sources regarding the players Liverpool are looking at.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been rumoured, but everything about this potential transfer seems to be above board and there have been no solid claims that any deals have been done.
It could be the case that they’re simply not looking at other players and all their eggs are in baskets labelled Van Dijk and Keïta, but fans would hope the club have learnt their lesson in this regard after the Alexis Sánchez saga in the summer of 2014.
“The huge blow was that we thought we were getting Alexis Sánchez and that he'd be a like-for-like replacement, in terms of how he pressed the game and his aggression,” reflected former Reds manager Brendan Rodgers after leaving the club.
“Come the end of the summer we were struggling to get in the type of player we wanted. It didn't quite work for us and it cost us.”
But Liverpool seem to have improved in this regard, especially as two of their best signings in Klopp’s first summer transfer window at the club — Sadio Mané and Giorginio Wijnaldum — were themselves back-up options for rumoured top Liverpool targets Mario Götze and Piotr Zieliński.
So why are there seemingly still no back-up options in this transfer window?
It could be the club have learnt from the Van Dijk and Keïta sagas, and are now doing their utmost to keep their transfer dealings under wraps.
They could even be shunning the usual practice of agreeing terms with the player before making a formal bid to the club, after such methods saw them reported to the Premier League by Southampton, and could see similar action taken by Leipzig. Most clubs will sound out players before making an official offer, but Liverpool were unlucky they were the ones reported to the Premier League for it.
Another reason for the apparent lack of movement beyond the much discussed pair is that the transfer window still has the best part of two months to go.
Impatience is rife among fans, and social media needs transfer news every minute of every day, but though Klopp will have liked to get as many players in as possible for pre-season training there is still a long way to go in this window.
They might be playing the long game with Van Dijk, waiting for things to settle down at Southampton as their new manager Mauricio Pellegrino assesses the squad at his new club.
Returning with a bid done in the proper manner and without any of the media fuss later in the window could tempt the Saints to sell, and having an extra £60million to play with would be very attractive to a new manager looking to put his own stamp on the club.
As is the case with all teams, Liverpool wanted to get their business done early, but the lack of action since their early flurry in the market doesn't necessarily mean that deals aren't being done.
It might just mean they've learnt lessons from problems encountered during early manoeuvres, even if these stumbling blocks weren't entirely of their making.
The next player having his photo taken at the club's Melwood training ground could well come into the red, from out of the blue.