There was so much promise when Raheem Sterling broke onto the scene at Liverpool last season.
After a breakthrough campaign that saw the 18-year-old dazzle and delight, Sterling has found his second season as a first-team player in the Premier League a different matter entirely.
Eight league games without a goal or assist do not make for pleasant reading, while a shot count of just two in that time tells its own story.
Oh, there was that goal in the Capital One Cup against Notts County...
Like it or not, however, Sterling's torrid start to the season has brought him down to earth with a bang - and the situation shows no sign of improvement the way the 18-year-old is playing.
No, the answer is simple: Sterling must go out on loan to rebuild his confidence in January.
After all, the England Under-21 international has not become a bad player overnight. He still has years of promise ahead of him, both for Liverpool and England.
But Sterling's current plight cannot be allowed to continue. It would be irresponsible of Brendan Rodgers to do so.
A loan move - be it to a fellow Premier League club, or to a Championship side - would give Sterling the chance to express himself where more space would be available and where defenders would not close him down so quickly.
And the biggest benefit of a temporary transfer would be even simpler: game time in itself.
With the form the 18-year-old is in at the moment, there is no way Liverpool could risk giving him an extended run in the team when vital points are at stake in the race for a top-four finish.
But if Sterling were allowed to go out on loan, he could play regularly, build up his confidence and rekindle some of his old fire, coming back to Liverpool a new man.
In other words, it would be a win-win situation.
image: © bernard-chan