Naby Keita and Fabinho have seen their value questioned by Liverpool legend Graeme Souness, with the summer signings not considered to be an upgrade in a “pedestrian” midfield.
Jurgen Klopp spent big in the last transfer window, bringing reinforcements into his engine room.
A deal for Keita had been in the pipeline for some time, while an early move was made to fend off rival interest in Fabinho and land him in a £39 million ($50m) agreement with Monaco.
Neither of the high-profile additions have made the impact expected of them on Merseyside, though, with both still adjusting to life in the Premier League.
Reds icon Souness agrees that more is required from the new boys, telling Sky Sports after a dramatic 1-0 derby victory over Everton: "It's very hard to be critical of Liverpool's form in the Premier League, but they're not firing on all cylinders.
"I think a lot of the problems come from midfield. I think if you go back to the summer, he [Klopp] signed two midfield players and wanted a third one - Nabil Fekir from Lyon - and I'm not sure if Fabinho and Naby Keita are an upgrade on what he's already got.
"Last year, the midfield of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson were winning it early and getting forward early and the three strikers were off raiding and causing havoc. Now, it is a little bit more pedestrian, they're winning it but there's an extra touch or pass.
"I think they've got to get back to that front three as quick as they possibly can and if they can do that, then they'll be firing on all cylinders. But right now, for me, they're not where they were last year."
While Keita and Fabinho have been urged to raise their game, Roberto Firmino – who delivered a personal best haul of 27 goals last season – has also been challenged to rediscover his spark.
Jamie Redknapp said of the Brazil international: "Firmino is having a difficult moment, you can't deny that. He is a fantastic talent and he will come through it but at the moment, the way that he plays and with what he did last year, it was so important and earlier this season too.
"The balance of Mohamed Salah playing up front - he's so good he can play anywhere - but for me, when I watched Liverpool at their best last season, the three when Salah was wide just seemed to work better.
"In midfield, do they need that extra bit of quality? Andre Gomes bossed the game for Everton and I don't think Liverpool did that well enough.
"I think going forward, there are still a few questions about how they play and how the formation works."