OF all the interesting figures to be gleaned from Liverpool FC’s latest set of accounts, the most telling statistic was the one that wasn’t there.
The Champions League-sized hole in the revenue stream.
Ongoing failure to qualify for Europe’s elite competition is leaving an estimated £30million shortfall in income.
Hardly small change to a club for which frugality and financial commonsense have become cornerstones of their development.
That Liverpool nevertheless remain in the top 10 of the Deloitte Football Money List underlines their global and historic appeal.
But the longer they remain with their face pressed up against the glass as Europe’s top teams battle it out on the big stage, the further adrift they will be cast, the more difficult it will be to scale the mountain.
No pressure on Brendan Rodgers, then, to transform Liverpool’s fortunes and return them, at the very least, back among the Premier League’s top four.
Manchester United clashed with Real Madrid earlier this week in a match Jose Mourinho rather ambitiously declared “the whole world will stop to watch”.
Yet it was only four years ago this week that the globe witnessed Liverpool smashing four goals past both of those illustrious rivals.
Of course, let alone challenging for Champions League qualification, the Anfield outfit are this season left with a scrap for a place in the Europa League.
Recent form suggests they have a chance having seemingly addressed a shortcoming that has persistently dogged Liverpool during the Premier League era: an inability to swat aside the lesser lights.
Examples are scattered across the landscape, seared on to the psyche of the Anfield faithful. Not least when it comes to failed title challenges.
Losses to Coventry City, away then at home, costing dearly in 1996 and 1997.
A costly setback in Southampton in 2002. Home draws with Fulham, West Ham and Hull in 2009.
Able to raise themselves for the bigger games, Liverpool have too often underwhelmed against opposition they should be routinely swatting aside.
Yet this season has seen something different.
Of Liverpool’s 11 Premier League victories, eight have been by a margin of at least three goals against teams they would be expected to see off.
Just look at their scorelines in their last six league wins: 4-0 against Fulham, 3-0 at QPR, 3-0 at home to Sunderland, 5-0 over Norwich City, 5-0 against Swansea City and, last Saturday, 4-0 at Wigan Athletic.
Indeed, despite glaring setbacks against Aston Villa and Stoke City, few teams can boast a better record than Liverpool against teams in the bottom half of the table this season.
There’s nothing wrong with acquiring a welcome reputation of being flat-track bullies.
Liverpool’s problems have instead come against the six teams above them, with Rodgers’ side taking just five points from nine games.