Lay aside your club allegiances. Just for a few minutes. Forget that Fernando Torres plays for Chelsea.
Forget that he may have scored against your club in the past, although that is unlikely to have happened recently.
Liverpool fans, forget even that he left the Kop for Stamford Bridge - a painful departure that still undoubtedly stings, given the glee with which every barren game for the Spaniard is treated on various football forums, including ESPNSTAR.com.
Just remember the Torres who had the entire Premier League in awe during his first couple of seasons after his arrival from Atletico Madrid.
Compare and contrast that with the stuttering striker who approaches every defender doubtfully, unsure about whether he'll be able to get past or whether he'll be subject to more jeers after yet another failed attempt at finding that elusive entity - the back of the net.
Is it not a pity? Is it not frustrating that a player with the talent to make us repeatedly fall in love with the game has been reduced to a mere caricature? What makes the entire saga so baffling is that nearly all the excuses that are trotted out to shield a player who is not performing have been used and are no longer valid.
Chelsea have had their fair share of failed buys down the years - particularly in the Roman Abramovich era. Laws of probability dictate that's inevitable, given the number of players who have been brought to Stamford Bridge under the Russian's ownership. But in terms of huge transfers, the only Chelsea striker who can be compared to Torres in recent years is Andriy Shevchenko.
Comparisons - past and present
The Ukranian arrived from AC Milan for £30.8 million on the back of massive expectations. The Abramovich revolution had got underway with the club's first Premier League title in half a century the season before and Shevchenko was expected to lead the next Blues' wave. Three years later, he left London as a Chelsea flop with nine goals in 48 games.
It is still easy to come up with credible hypotheses regarding Shevchenko's failure. Perhaps his game was never suited to the pace of the Premier League. Or perhaps he had arrived too late to make an impact.
Shevchenko was already pushing 30 by the time he signed for Chelsea - and while there are numerous instances of strikers flourishing well into their fourth decade, it is conceivable that the former Milan man's best days had been at the San Siro.
None of these applies to Torres. He has been there and done that - with Liverpool. He has just forgotten how to do it again. At 27-years-old, he should be raising his arms to take in all the adulation rather than thumping the ground in frustration time and again.
Then there is the other high-profile failure of the year - Andy Carroll. Purchased by Kenny Dalglish from Newcastle for £35 million, the pony-tail has been anything but divine. Carroll has looked out-of-sorts and has frankly given little indication that he belongs to a top club like Liverpool. Again it is conceivable that he is just not good enough.
And yet again, the same assumption cannot be applied to Torres. He used to tear apart top-level opposition defences for fun during his first two years in England. The sight of the long-haired striker running at defenders before leaving them for dead had few equals in terms of to the sheer excitement it injected into the game. So he is too not too old, is used to the pace of the game and has certainly shown that he has the quality to better the best.
Planning and Personnel
Maybe, then, it is the manager's tactics. Perhaps the way Andre Villas-Boas sets out his teams. But the Portuguese is one of the most attack-minded managers Chelsea have had in the past few years. Jose Mourinho would have sputtered in indignation at the high defensive line and the constant attacking emphasis that Villas-Boas prefers.
Granted that the Blues' manager has occasionally played Torres out of position, but there can be no doubt that if you're a Chelsea striker looking to end a barren run, you'd rather be in an AVB team rather than a Mourinho, or even an Ancelotti team. But an attacking philosophy means nothing if you're not getting good service. Is Torres suffering due to lack of quality providers?
When he lined up against Manchester United at Old Trafford back in March 2009 - the game he is still remembered for - Torres had Javier Mascherano, a young Lucas and an in-form Steven Gerrard behind him. A high quality midfield, no doubt.
When he revisited Old Trafford with the Blues in October this year - another game he'll always be remembered for, albeit due to drastically different reasons, Torres had Frank Lampard, Raul Meireles and Ramires in midfield. An equally high-quality, if not better midfield. He also had countryman and one of the best players in England this season, Juan Mata, alongside him.
A perplexing problem
Having exhausted most footballing reasons, we descend into intangibles. Torres is certainly lacking in confidence, that most vital of elixirs for a footballer. But there have been enough instances, even in this fallow period, to tease watchers into thinking, justifiably so, that the confidence was back.
There was the stunning two-goal salvo against Chelsea just before his move. Then there was the recent goal against United in October - a beautifully clipped effort that hinted at better things to come.
Neither performance, however, resulted in a sustained run of form, and observers continue to scratch their heads at one of football's biggest current enigmas.
Maybe it's the pressure of it all, the £50 million price-tag hanging like a millstone around his neck. But it has been nearly a year - a long time for a player who has been playing in the same glaring spotlight for more than four years.
Injuries may have played a part as well, but having heard absolutely nothing on that score ever since his last serious knock, it would be safe to assume that there is nothing wrong, at least physically, with the beleaguered forward.
At the end of it all, we're left grasping at straws. Maybe it's a gypsy's curse - a gypsy who is a Liverpool fan. Maybe the stars are not aligning. Maybe Mars is in Pluto or whatever tosh astrologers use to explain the troughs in one's life.
Amidst all the general astonishment and inexplicability, only one thing is certain. English football is poorer for Torres' lack of form. There can be no doubt that El Nino destroying defences was one of the best things about the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. In his place now, we have player who thinks twice, even thrice before hesitatingly taking defenders on.
Writing after Torres' sublime display against United in 2009, ESPNSTAR.com Senior Editor Ian Griffiths gushed: "The Spaniard's all-round performance must surely rate as one of the finest from a visiting player at the ‘Theatre of Dreams', a display so full of vitality, so packed to the rafters with guile and deadeye finishing, that Liverpool skipper Gerrard felt the urge to declare that Torres is currently "the best player in the world". He may be right.
"Time after time during a season that has been badly hampered by injury, Torres has proved the proverbial handful for those he has been pitted against. His goal tally - 11 so far - and ultra-solid displays typical of a man destined for greatness and a place in the Anfield Hall of Fame."
How thrilling it would be to see the same Torres again, rather than the hapless doppelganger that seems to have taken his place.