Jordan Henderson (£2.9m) had the last laugh long ago.
Rewind a few years and the Sunderland-born midfielder was a punchline among Premier League supporters, including a few Liverpool fans.
Technically limited and too often ineffectual, he looked cold in the shadow of Steven Gerrard until Jurgen Klopp arrived and transformed him into one of the most effective players in his position countrywide.
His sharp upturn coincided not only with the change of management at Anfield but also with him inheriting the captain’s armband.
As the leader of Klopp’s relentless crop, he matured into the perfect midfielder for the German’s system – to this day his positioning and awareness of when to cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.8m) is an underrated element of the Reds’ incredibly profitable right flank.
All those who previously mocked Henderson could only watch sheepishly as he lifted trophies to commemorate Champions League and Premier League victories in consecutive seasons having played his part in the dual successes twice over.
This season, the 31-year-old is playing as well as ever and he’s even directly contributing to goals more regularly than fans have come to expect.
With four assists and three goals in all competitions, the Reds’ skipper has seven goal contributions to his name with the season just over a third complete.
Essentially, he’s on course for his best-ever season in terms of attacking returns – or at least the best campaign under Klopp.
A goal involvement every 192 minutes looks incredibly sluggish compared to the numbers Mohamed Salah (£8.0m) is putting up but it’s a very respectable rate for a midfielder who doesn’t usually specialise in final-third contributions.
This purple patch has translated to Dream Team joy for Henderson, a player whose efforts generally haven’t equated to plentiful points in the past.
At the time of writing, he’s eighth-best midfielder in the game having moved onto 60 points overall during his fine display in the Merseyside derby on Wednesday night.
It’s probably a stretch too far to say Henderson is now a must-have midfielder since he averages 3.2 points per game – 19 others in his position boast a better rate – but as captain of one of the best teams in Europe he is guaranteed plenty of minutes.
Away from the stats, he passes the eye test with flying colours – he’s been responsible for some of the best passes so far this season.
If Henderson continues to chip in with attacking returns on top of his general consistency then he may well be worth a spot in a decent Dream Team XI, especially given his affordable price of £2.9m.