Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has set the clock ticking on significant change coming to his squad after insisting he is going nowhere.
A sixth Premier League defeat at the weekend has left the German facing a considerable task to rediscover something close to their best form.
And while that will not be solved by transfer activity this month change is around the corner as Klopp, who denied he was too loyal to senior players, knows that is the only way forward.
Only last April he signed a contract extension until 2026 and in contrast to his situation at former club Borussia Dortmund, who were facing a relegation battle at this stage of his seventh season, the 55-year-old stressed only the sack would prevent him seeing that through.
“At Dortmund, it was clear when I left, I said ‘something has to change here’. It is a different situation,” he said.
“Either the manager’s position changes or a lot of other things change. So, as far as I am concerned unless someone tells me I will not go.
“So that means maybe there is a point where we have to change other stuff. We will see that, but that is something for the future. Like summer or whatever. Not now.
“I have space and time to think about it, we have to play better football now.”
While his admission that an overhaul is needed will be welcomed by fans who believe he should have addressed a perceived weakness in midfield sooner, it will not do much to stave off criticism he is overly-reliant on the old guard.
Captain Jordan Henderson (32) and Fabinho (29) – who have won every club trophy during their time at Anfield – and the 31-year-old Thiago Alcantara, a later arrival but still a double cup winner last season, remain Klopp’s first-choice midfield.
However, they are starting to show their considerable miles on the clock with Henderson admitting Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Brighton lacked energy.
“Yes, of course I have heard it. I heard that before and I am not,” added Klopp when asked about the loyalty claim.
“I am loyal. I think everybody should be loyal, but I am not too loyal.”
Back-ups Naby Keita – who is out of contract in the summer and looks set to leave after an underwhelming five years – and academy graduate Curtis Jones have struggled with injury this season and that has stunted their progress and curtailed their contributions.
James Milner, in the final six months of his one-year extension, turned 37 earlier this month and is in the twilight of his playing career, while forwards Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino’s contracts end in June.
The departure of some, or all, of those players would free up much-needed space on the wage bill which has increased significantly after the successes of recent years.
“The problem is too complex. You have a good player who did a lot of good things in the past and then in your mind (you think) maybe that’s it for him,” said Klopp of the need for rejuvenation.
“If you can then and go out and bring in another player to replace (him) that makes sense.
“If you cannot bring anybody in you cannot bring anybody out. That is the situation.”
Klopp also rejected the suggestion, another levelled at him in his Dortmund final season, that longer-serving players had stopped listening to him.
“I was not that often in a similar situation but I know exactly how it works when things don’t go well,” he said.
“There is a list of things you go through and one of the things is the players aren’t listening to the coach anymore.
“In Germany we say the manager doesn’t reach the team anymore. So I understand it looks like this sometimes but it is just not the case. You can take that off the list.
“Everyone feels responsible. There is nobody sitting there thinking ‘I was OK but he wasn’t.’ It wasn’t there, I don’t see it, I don’t hear it, it’s not there.
“If it was here then the player would have a real problem. That is the moment the problems really start.”