As recently as Monday it looked as though Liverpool were on the verge of bringing in their second signing of the January transfer window with the trial offered to Norwegian defender Vegard Forren, but now it looks as though the move is dead in the water—but it's by no means terrible news for the Reds.
Various media outlets including the BBC website reported late on Monday that Forren, currently playing for Molde in his home country, was set for a week-long trial with a view to a permanent transfer to Liverpool.
However, the centre-back is now on the verge of signing for Southampton instead (per BBC).
The Reds, or the fanbase, might regard this as a missed opportunity in the market, but perhaps a little perspective on all sides might be required.
Forren is highly regarded by many in the game, enough for multiple Premier League clubs to maintain an interest in him, but at 24 years of age he has so far yet to play outside of Norway and has so far totalled just five international caps.
He is undoubtedly a fine player and may yet go on to prove himself as a good Premiership-standard defender, but Liverpool have two or three reasons why they could count themselves as not too worried to have missed out at this point.
Firstly, the Reds have an established central defensive pairing. Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger are not about to be broken up unless they pick up an injury or suspension this season, meaning the Norwegian would be playing third-choice at best. With Jamie Carragher a permanent fixture on the bench and Sebastian Coates not even getting that consolation at times this season it is by no means certain Forren would be a matchday regular at this stage.
Sure, he'd need time to acclimatise to the Premier League and so on, but there's a difference between having some time on the sidelines initially and joining the club as a backup.
As the Uruguayan defender Coates has unfortunately found out. Then again, Coates has only recently turned 22 and has more international experience than Forren.
Secondly, Liverpool did not make a firm offer for him.
A trial is a good way to run a final eye over the defender, in amongst players who are already of the required quality, but clearly he hadn't done enough beforehand to dispel any lingering doubts. Other clubs such as Everton and Lazio who were previously interested must have had similar thoughts.
Whether Forren turned down the Reds because he didn't want a trial period first or simply because Saints are offering him immediate first-team action is irrelevant; Liverpool can hardly complain at the former since their current manager was said to have turned down an initial "first-round" interview before accepting the job.
If the manager feels the club should know what he "brings to the table" without the need for a close-up, presumably he accepts that a player is entitled to feel the same way.
What is the most important area for Liverpool to improve in?
Finally, despite the advancing age of Carragher and the exclusion of Coates this season, the Reds are well-stocked in defence. Other areas of the team potentially need more care and attention paid to them than the centre of the back line, namely the left side of the same area of the team and an addition in midfield—though both are likely to have to wait until summer.
Of course, any opportunity to improve any area of the team should be gratefully accepted by supporters whether it is the priority or not.
But given Liverpool's attempts to spend money more wisely and on more sure-fire successes these days, it might be for the best for all involved parties that Forren has opted to progress his career elsewhere for now.