After all the questions posed about Liverpool, it is time to ask the most-pertinent one: is it a blip or a collapse?
Gary Neville saw how Sir Alex Ferguson maintained Manchester United’s phenomenal success between 1990 and 2013 and believes it is a collapse.
He says United would suffer a dip in the fourth year of their cycle, but they would bounce back the following season.
Neville is not convinced Jurgen Klopp can pull Liverpool out of their nosedive and rescale the heights of the Premier League next season.
Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast: “We could never do it in the fourth year at Man Utd, there was always that dip. But this isn’t a dip – this is a collapse.
“They’re woeful at the moment in every single way.”
Klopp insists he can turn Liverpool round when he gets back all his injured stars like Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
But his teams have suffered collapses before and Dortmund fell apart in his final season in 2014-15, losing 10 league games in the first half of the campaign, before rallying to finish seventh.
Liverpool’s swallow dive off a cliff is off the scale compared to that.
Sunday’s defeat to Fulham was their sixth straight league loss at Anfield and they are in danger of missing out on Europe altogether, let alone the Champions League.
They could even finish outside the top eight for the first time since they were promoted under Bill Shankly in 1962.
Owners FSG believe it is a dip rather than a collapse and will stand by Klopp, even if he misses out on the Champions League.
They will back Klopp as he attempts to overhaul Liverpool’s massively under-performing squad this summer.
But it would be difficult for Klopp to sign the calibre of player needed without the cash and kudos of European football.
They could sell Mohamed Salah and his agent, Ramy Abbas Issa, hinted his time at Anfield could be coming to an end by tweeting a full stop in response to Klopp hauling him off in the defeat to Chelsea.
But Salah, nor Sadio Mane for that matter, would command the sort of eye-watering fees they would have fetched two years ago because of their poor form and the pandemic.
Players will leave and Georginio Wijnaldum is set to quit on a Bosman to join Barcelona, while Liverpool will attempt to offload fringe players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi.
James Milner knows the players must prove it is just a dip, even though he admits they are “hurt” and their confidence drained by their dramatic transformation from champs to chumps.
“When things aren’t going for you everything is a lot harder,” he said. “You miss a chance and it hits you a lot harder.
“It definitely hurts. When you’re playing for a club with the history of Liverpool, the history we’ve created as a group of players, the standards we’ve set, we’re not hitting them at this moment and it’s not good enough.
“It’s disappointing and it’s hard when you’re letting the club down and letting the fans down.
“It’s for us to keep pushing and dig ourselves out of the mess.”
Reds legend Jamie Carragher is shocked by their lack of backbone and damningly called them “mentality midgets”.
Carragher said: “That man [Klopp] rightly called his side the mentality monsters and they deserved that tag, but right now, they are like mentality midgets.”