That it took Liverpool until the final day of the season to confirm qualification for next season's Champions League - for just the second time in eight seasons - tells you all you need to now about the depth available to Jurgen Klopp.
The German has a dearth of options in a handful of key positions, a plight which is partly his own fault, and that was exposed at regular intervals particularly at home against sides in the bottom half.
The ex-Borussia Dortmund boss may have felt that his squad was equipped to deal with the domestic campaign, and having been proven badly wrong he has no choice but to use the transfer market to improve a squad with more gaping holes than the Channel Tunnel.
Having returned to Europe's premier club competition, the cartel of players available to the Reds naturally improves, while they do remain a major draw on the continent.
But Klopp faces being left behind by committing to his own long-term goals, which see him prefer coaching over transfers. It is an admirable stance, but not one which is liable to earn him much credit should the club not stage a genuine bid for the title or challenge to win a sixth European Cup. Fans will hope the failed bid to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton is not a sign of things to come.
Business so far
Dominic Solanke, star of the England Under-20's World Cup win in South Korea, has arrived from Chelsea with a tribunal required to determine the fee which is expected to be around £3m. The Reading-born forward, who played just once for the Blues, left Stamford Bridge after he club refused to cave to his wage demands. Meanwhile, seven players have been released by Liverpool. Jack Dunn, who had been closing in on a first team place, is among them as is unused goalkeeper Alex Manninger.
Perhaps the biggest change has come behind the scenes where Peter Moore has begun his role as the club's new chief executive. The EA gaming maestro has pledged to back Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards in the transfer window but he will not play a direct role in negotiations like his predecessor Ian Ayre.
What they need
James Milner performed admirably as an auxiliary left-back last season but if Liverpool have ambitions of challenging for the title a full-time option in that position is needed rather than a stop gap.
The problems at the back - the Reds shipped 42 league goals last season - don't end there with Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip not possessing the concentration nor the fitness to bring calm to the position. Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius were rotated at an alarming rate last season, with neither fully convincing.
The central midfield positions were a rolling carousel of players, much down to Jordan Henderson's raft of injuries. Georginio Wijnaldum impressed in his first season but never had a regular partner. In attack, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi's fitness problems mean Klopp must surely look for the elusive 25-goal-a-season striker they have been devoid of since Luis Suarez's exit to Barcelona.
Who could join
Certainly not Van Dijk, who is no longer a target after Liverpool withdrew their interest having been accused of making an illegal approach to sign the Southampton captain. Lazio's Stefan de Vrij has since emerged as the chief target in a deal which could cost the club in excess of £30m.
Liverpool are however among the many suitors for Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe, who is destined to leave the principality in search of a new challenge. The 18-year-old scored 26 goals in his first full season as a professional and caught the eye of several sides, including Arsenal and Real Madrid. Landing the France international would be a major signal of intent.
Another Southampton player, Dusan Tadic leads the contenders to fill the midfield birth, and assist in improving the club's creative powers. A deal for the Serbian, who has grown disillusioned with life under Claude Puel at St Mary's, could be completed for just £13m. Mo Salah almost moved to Liverpool when he swapped Basel for Chelsea, but he could yet complete a belated switch to the club from Roma.
Who could leave
Philippe Coutinho continues to be linked with a move to Barcelona having been identified as the long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta. The Brazil international has done little to fuel speculation while Klopp is confident he will start the season with the playmaker who signed a new contract until 2022 in January. The 25-year-old is understood to be valued at €90m, according to Sport.
Lucas Leiva could end his 10-year association with Liverpool this summer, with a return to Brazil on the cards after he was sidelined for much of the campaign. The contract wrangle regarding Emre Can could also see him leave after he endured a slow start to the campaign. Klopp meanwhile has lost all confidence in Alberto Moreno having preferred to play Milner out-of-position last term, and the Spaniard's days are surely numbered.
Whether successive starts at the end of the season will be enough for Sturridge to remain is uncertain. The England forward was at his unreliable best during swathes of last term, making just seven top flight starts in all for a team who struggled to break sides down at times. West Ham United are among the clubs interested. Furthermore, Danny Ward could be one of a raft of players to leave on loan having targetting a second season with newly-promoted Huddersfield Town.
What the manager has said
"We need to be strong because around us we'll have a lot of quality and they will be stronger so we will be strong – one hundred per cent," said Klopp. "Yes, different options, we have another tournament to play. So that's clear, we know about everything and still then, you need to be kind of lucky with injuries.
"The injuries we had this year were not injuries from training but in the games. It was knocks and ankle and ligament and really, things you have no influence on. It happened in the challenge, we didn't do it on the training ground and problems here and problems there.
"So these significant injuries they were all from the pitch, they were all from the game. So can you say, can you sort this problem? One hundred per cent, no. But again we learnt a lot and we will bring in quality."