THEY were all as bad as each other. Out-muscled, bullied and humbled by a bunch of players fighting to survive in League One.
Woefully second best against players who will have expected more from a club of such stature and from men they idolise.
And desperately unable to match the determination of a cash-strapped Oldham Athletic team, one in freefall and with their manager on the brink of being sacked.
From Brad Jones’ jitters to a misfiring set of forwards and with a defence creaking under the pressure of a former non-League forward in between, Liverpool slumped to one of the most humiliating defeats in their rich FA Cup history.
For the seven-times winners, exiting the competition in this manner was a collective embarrassment.
Steven Gerrard was a helpless, and no doubt agitated, onlooker as he watched Oldham ease into a 3-1 lead from the substitutes’ bench.
The captain had fire in his eyes when he was introduced after 55 minutes and was only the width of a crossbar away from dragging his side out from the depths to which they had slumped.
Only Gerrard and his performance would have deserved the replay.
Brendan Rodgers defended his decision not to start the 32-year-old, rightly believing Liverpool could cope without him and instead directed the brunt of his criticism at the team’s younger players.
As only three of the starting 11 were over the age of 23, we can assume most were made to understand his disappointment at full-time.
This was an opportunity that many wasted, in particular the man replaced by Gerrard.
The landscape has changed since Fabio Borini suffered a broken foot in October.
Liverpool have – games such as yesterday aside – improved and found some form in his absence.
There has also been the addition of competition for places with Daniel Sturridge coming in from Chelsea and the 21-year-old Italian is now no longer certain of the place he was almost guaranteed at the start of the season.
Borini has returned to the first team relieved of the acute burden he will have felt before his injury where he was seen as the man to shoulder and share the weight of scoring expectancy, carried solely by Luis Suarez.
After only a handful of games, he had unfairly been the victim of snap judgements.
Many Liverpool fans did not like what they were seeing after nine starts and just one goal, all for a man Rodgers spent a sizeable chunk of his summer transfer kitty on.
But coming back from injury and away from the spotlight, yesterday felt like the perfect chance for Borini to start proving the doubters wrong.
On an uneven pitch, on a wind and rain swept day on the edge of the Pennines, Borini had the opportunity to show he has the mettle to make it at Liverpool.
His glaring miss just after half-time compounded a miserable afternoon and soon after he headed for the shelter of the dugout as Gerrard came on to save the day.
Other than a neat lay-off to send Raheem Sterling through on goal, Borini’s afternoon was a tale of bad touches, misplaced passes and being shoved off the ball too easily.
Liverpool do have a player with potential in their ranks.
One a Uefa licensed coach recently remarked ticks all the boxes in technique, movement and being in the right place at the right time.
But potential counted for nothing at Boundary Park where gritted teeth and rolled up sleeves were the order of the day.
There, Borini came up short.
But then, he was certainly not alone.