Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits the team are back in a period of transition similar to when he first arrived at Anfield and accepts there will be more pain to come before things pick up again.
The departure of striker Luis Suarez, integrating a raft of summer signings and injuries to a number of players have all contributed to a difficult start to the campaign. They have yet to reach anything close to the blistering form they displayed in the second half of last season having won just twice in the league and scored only eight times in six matches.
Of greater concern is their defensive weakness with just one clean sheet in nine outings this season and only two in their last 18 games, which incorporates their scintillating displays which took them to a runners-up place in May. Rodgers denied, however, he was facing the biggest challenge of his managerial career after expectations were raised following last season's second place.
"No, not really. It's an exciting challenge. This is an incredible job and nothing has changed," Rodgers (pictured) said.
"The first six months were difficult here but for 18 months we've been on a magic carpet ride in terms of our performance level and everything improving.
"For me it would have been a case of keeping the squad we had and adding a few bodies to thicken up the squad.
"But that wasn't the case. There was big change here in the summer and we lost a world-class player (when Suarez was sold to Barcelona).
"We had to improve the squad and bring in a number of players and unfortunately we've lost a number of our key players to injuries. It brings us into a little period of transition again.
"It's something that was difficult in the first few months when I got here. You have to go through some pain. We are in a difficult moment but that's the great challenge for myself and the players."