Injuries and individual errors have plagued Liverpool's back four this season.
In the words of Stan Collymore on TalkSport yesterday afternoon, Liverpool's pursuit of Yevhen Konoplyanka proved to be a red herring.
Does a team that has scored 58 goals in the Premier League - only 10 behind free-scoring Manchester City and more than anyone else in the division - really need another winger?
The answer, simply put, is no.
Let's ask a different question instead: does a team that has conceded the most goals out of anyone in the Premier League's top five need another defender?
The answer, simply put, would be yes.
Yesterday's 1-1 draw with West Brom was a case in point. Injuries to Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho, Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson forced the Reds to field a makeshift defence against the Baggies - and Brendan Rodgers' side paid the price after a Kolo Toure error gifted Victor Anichebe a second-half equaliser.
That result led to two precious points dropped for Liverpool in the race to qualify for next season's Champions League, with many more potentially to follow if such gaping individual errors are not cut out.
Not that left-back Aly Cissokho was any better in a role that has seen the Frenchman draw constant criticism this campaign. But even when the likes of Agger, Sakho and Johnson have started in Rodgers' first XI, Liverpool have not been without their faults at the back.
Johnson's attacking prowess, for instance, has failed to mask his inconsistencies going the other direction, while Sakho has often dallied on the ball in possession, if not to the extent of Toure yesterday.
Why, then, did Ian Ayre and co. go after Konoplyanka on Deadline Day when there were far more obvious problems in Liverpool's squad?
An extra defender - central or out wide - would not only have boosted the Reds' numbers or, hopefully, quality. No, defensive reinforcements would have added competition and boosted performances within Liverpool's current setup.
No one in Liverpool's back line is a bad defender: they wouldn't have got to Anfield otherwise. At some point or other this season, though, they have left their standards slip.
A new signing at the back might have just put that right, setting Liverpool's back four back on track for the season. Now, however, the Reds' bid for a top-four finish could go down to the wire - all because of simple defensive frailty.
Should Liverpool have bought a new defender in January?
image: © kong niffe