Jude Bellingham got Liverpool fans talking with his performance as England beat Senegal 3-0 at the World Cup, and only fuelled speculation off the pitch.
Bellingham produced a game-changing display on Sunday night when, after a difficult 35 minutes, he burst into space and carved out the opening goal.
Jordan Henderson was the eager recipient, putting England in front with a left-footed finish, before Bellingham crafted another move which led to the second.
There was more than a tinge of Steven Gerrard to his play as he broke through the midfield, holding off challenges before laying it off for Phil Foden to cross and Harry Kane to fire home.
The teenager, Liverpool’s priority target, was widely hailed for his performance, while his passionate celebration with Henderson added to rumours of a move to Anfield being close.
After the game, the official England Twitter account showed Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold recreating it, while Bellingham posed on the other side of the BeReal camera.
Let's recreate that celebration! ? pic.twitter.com/REcdJe3q7t
— England (@England) December 4, 2022
Elsewhere, Bellingham and Henderson both shared praise for their midfield partners:
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) December 4, 2022
Jude Bellingham ??? pic.twitter.com/hvcIGme1H2
Bellingham doubled down on his applause for Henderson in a post-match interview with ITV, criticising the media and sections of supporters for “rubbish” comments on the Liverpool captain.
“Brilliant performance today,” he assessed.
“I’ve seen some of the rubbish that was said about him playing, honestly it’s ridiculous.
“He’s so underrated technically, and he’s delivered again in a big game with a massive goal.
“I think it’s time he gets a bit of respect.”
It’s clear there is a strong bond between Bellingham, Henderson and Alexander-Arnold, with it almost seeming too convenient that they are growing closer as he weighs up his next move.
The hope will be that they have done enough, along with Jurgen Klopp and those in the boardroom, to convince the Dortmund teenager that Liverpool is the right sporting project for him.
Then it is down to those off the pitch to make sure the deal gets done.