It has been a season of frustration for Dominic Solanke.
After what appeared to be a breakout campaign at Liverpool in his first year at Anfield, the 21-year-old has found himself in the situation he had hoped to avoid when opting to leave Chelsea in 2017.
The striker made 30 appearances under Jurgen Klopp last season, including five Premier League starts. With 581 minutes, he gained more top-flight playing time than other exalted England prospects such as Reiss Nelson, Phil Foden and Kyle Walker-Peters.
This season, however, is yet to yield a single second of senior football for Solanke; he has been named in just one match day squad, the League Cup defeat to Chelsea, and has even been forced to gain minutes with the Under-23s once more.
His two-in-two record at that level will have no doubt alerted Klopp, as will his exploits on international duty for England Under-21s this week.
Two goals on Thursday night in the 2-1 win against Italy were followed by another double on Tuesday, this time in the 5-1 win over Denmark.
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His two goals last week were both from crosses – both taken expertly – with the kind of finish Solanke can make his trademark.
Last night, his deft finish against the Danes went viral. With his back to goal, he lofted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper with a superb back heeled effort, struck with the class of a Ryder Cup golfer around the greens.
He is towering, powerful, physical. He is a presence in the box, with intelligent movement but often lacking the finishing touch associated with a top striker; it is an aspect of his game he is developing, as shown this week, in spectacular style.
Solanke chats to the ECHO last season
Yet it is still a curious situation that Solanke has found himself unable to break into the first-team during a time the front three have not fired as ferociously as before.
The Reds’ game has seemingly altered to suit the qualities of Solanke less, too.
Last season, the team averaged around 20 crosses per match – that has dropped to 18 in 2018/19.
But opportunities have become more limited at a time when they should perhaps be presenting more.
Perhaps Solanke’s week with England, helping extend the Young Lions’ unbeaten stretch to 22, offered Liverpool a reminder of what he is capable of.
It would be a timely reminder, too.
Liverpool are about to embark on a run of 11 games in 41 days; a sequence which will define their season, both domestically and in Europe.
At a time when options will be essential, Solanke could be called upon at various points.
It was during this time last season when the forward established himself under Klopp. Between November 29 and New Year’s Day, he would appear in seven league games, starting against Everton and Burnley.
With Sturridge’s latest situation fresh in the mind and Origi failing to impress, Solanke will need to be prepared if he is called upon.
His efforts for England show what he can do – at that level.
And it might offer Liverpool the nudge he has waited for all season.