A testing season for Liverpool finally has the finish line in sight.
It’s less than a month now until Jurgen Klopp can puff out his cheeks and close the chapter on what has been, in the main, a campaign he won’t recall with fondness.
From the absence of fans to the apparent randomness of VAR, there has been plenty to furrow the brow of football folk across the Premier League this season.
Throw in a crippling injury crisis and a unwanted new record of successive home defeats and you can understand why Klopp will want to consign events of 2020/21 to the dustbin of history when the final whistle blows on May 23.
Liverpool, at least, still have the outside chance of finishing inside the top four in the closing few weeks of the season.
That is now the single objective left in the run-in, even if they are some way back from Chelsea and Leicester as we approach the start of May.
Wherever Liverpool land, though, Klopp’s reflection on events of the past eight months or so will only have an inquest-style tone to it as he looks to put right the myriad of things that have gone wrong for him and his team.
Perhaps the biggest issue, though, will start to ease off naturally for him as the weeks continue to go by.
The sight of Joel Matip back in light training this week was a heartening one for all concerned on that front.
The defender, whose injury record was sporadic at best before his campaign was ended early, was forced to concede defeat at the end of January when he suffered ankle ligament damage during the first half of the 3-1 win against Tottenham.
Matip will now undergo a specialised programme designed to help him avoid the niggling problems that have hampered his Anfield career in the last few years and limited him to just 10 Premier League appearances this term.
Since joining the club in the summer of 2016, Matip has made a grand total of 123 appearances for the Reds.
In contrast, Gini Wijnaldum – who joined that same transfer window – has nearly double that with 232.
Meanwhile Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk are progressing well in their own respective returns.
Van Dijk, who of course suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage at Everton in October, made just five top-flight appearances this term after previously playing back-to-back Premier League campaigns in full.
Gomez, whose own season-ending knee injury was suffered on England duty in November, was limited to seven games himself before Liverpool were forced to make do without his services.
That Matip – a player known for a lack of durability – was Liverpool’s most regularly spotted senior centre-back with 10 highlights exactly where the problems have stemmed from this season for Klopp.
It’s one that has had a destabilising effect on the rest of the team’s makeup, particularly at full-back where Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been unable to play their natural game to the maximum without the stability afforded to them by a regular partnership in the middle.