I vividly recall the demeanour of Brendan Rodgers this time last year, just seconds after the transfer window closed on his first session in the deadline day sauna.
His voice was barely audible, his spirit seemingly crushed not just by the unwillingness to spend a few million pounds on Clint Dempsey, but by the failure to provide any cover at all for a strike force so threadbare it looked moth-eaten.
Fast forward 12 months. This time around the Liverpool manager spent the frantic hours ticking down to the deadline cheerfully and calmly celebrating the anniversary of Bill Shankly's 100th birthday, a relaxed figure at a dinner in the great man's memory.
The contrast could not have been greater, the images of Rodgers cutting such a relaxed figure - where most of his managerial rivals were left fraught with worry as the deadline approached - a telling insight into his satisfaction at the progress of his team.
Put simply, Liverpool achieved more or less everything they set out to do in this transfer window, where a year ago the damage done by a far less successful recruitment drive reverberated all the way through to January.
The manager set out to strengthen his defence significantly, after losing perhaps his most influential voice in the dressing room when Jamie Carragher retired in the summer, and also losing young centre back Sebastian Coates to injury. Mission accomplished: spectacularly.
Not only does Kolo Toure provide the experience of Carragher, Rodgers can also call on the youthful promise of Thiago Ilori - a defender so highly rated that England have immediately set out to lure the London-born Portugal U21 player.
Even more impressively, they have secured an already experienced French international in Mamadou Sakho, even though the centre-half is still only 23. And at a reasonable price for a player identified as a leader. Add in another full international in the shape of left back Aly Cissokho and they are now covered across the defence.
Perhaps the most impressive bit of business though, came with a decision that showed Rodgers is not afraid to be strong, tough or bold. He knew he had a problem in goal, with Pepe Reina showing alarming signs of decline over the past two years. But he also knew getting rid of such an iconic figure would not be popular.
The best managers though, don't run popularity contests, they back their judgement. And as Carragher himself said on Sky last weekend, Rodgers' judgement is that Reina wasn't good enough any more - and Simon Mignolet is.
The new keeper's start has already justified that decision. Where Reina cost the Reds perhaps 12 or more points last season, Mignolet has already saved six - and put Liverpool top in the process. Even more importantly, his reassuringly solid presence has instilled a new belief in the defence, which looked reborn against Manchester United.
It is not just the signings by which you can judge a manager, but the thinking behind them, and Rodgers is beginning to demonstrate a singular vision that may not always prove popular, but at least has purpose and direction.
The same can be said of the club's owners - and it is here that Liverpool's transfer window can perhaps be judged the biggest success of all.
Principle owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner came in for some prolonged - and surprisingly ferocious - criticism as the ebbs and flows of the window brought them successes and failures in the pursuit of the players Rodgers had identified.
Impressively though, they managed to stay above the emotion of it all, and the frustration and recrimination of their critics, to keep the bigger picture in sight. If Rodgers has a clear plan, then so do the owners. It might be time that this is positively acknowledged by the Anfield support.
They have diligently pruned the wage bill to more sensible levels - not to save money, but to make it available to tempt players of pedigree to Anfield when they become available. While that may invite criticism, it is hard to argue that superstar salaries should be spent on superstars, not goalkeepers, right-backs and squad players.
They have also made what time may well judge as important stands when it comes both to player recruitment and player retention.
The handling of the Luis Suarez situation has been exemplary. How many people truly believed he would still be at Anfield when the window closed? And not only is he staying, but he has also apparently now come to terms with the idea.
The same strength has been shown in the transfer market, not least with the pursuit of Willian, where Liverpool really look to have dodged a bullet. While the owners received intense criticism for their failure to sign the Brazilian, maybe they should be praised for taking what amounted to a moral stance not to roll over in the face of player power.
Of course fans want to see high-profile signings, but deep down they also don't want to see their club held to ransom, or give refuge to mercenaries - and Willian certainly looks that right now. What price Chelsea have a Tevez situation on their hands in 18 months, given the two players share the same agent?
The owners have a long-term plan, and even if that has sometimes frustrated the manager - it it clearly did when Willian wasn't signed - it should eventually take the club to a better, more stable place, where they are more able to capitalise on their massive worldwide name.
Rodgers has a plan too: to build a fluid attacking style on a solid defensive base. This is coming into clearer focus with the emergence of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, and the exciting signings of Iago Aspas, Victor Moses and the promising Luis Alberto.
Add a committed and motivated Suarez into that mix when his suspension is over, and they will very definitely score goals - and probably not concede many, as their stats since January prove.
For all that encouragement though, this is only the second window when they have done good business, and even though more deadwood went out, there is still much work to be done.
There are issues still be addressed, not least the lack of depth in the squad. There are certainly defensive options now, but with Joe Allen injured there is not much back up for Lucas and Steven Gerrard in the holding positions, and not enough experience in the forward positions.
Taken in isolation though, Liverpool can only be happy with their transfer window, and can view the future with some hope. They have the quality to challenge for a top four place, but probably not yet the depth. A couple more windows like this one though, and the sensible approach adopted by owners and manager may start to pay long-term dividends.