Did you see that coming? This vessel certainly didn't. Fans proudly declared faith in Brendan Rodgers' tactical nous and the momentum of the group even though nerves jangled in the back of eager craniums. This was a game against Manchester United, Liverpool's greatest rival. To lose would grant Manchester United the momentum necessary to take charge of a spot in the top four. To lose would widen the gap between the side to five points with more depressing possibilities after the international break, in a world where one team will travel to Arsenal and the other faces the prospect of a visiting Aston Villa. Strife versus home comforts.
If Liverpool lost in an entertaining game where both sides played well, maybe one could come to terms with such a defeat. It would still sting. It would still unsettle the inner workings of shattered immune systems. It would still be as unwelcome as radioactive flu. But we could come to terms with it. Anfield was silenced by a dominant Manchester United for the opening half hour of the game, a feat that was remarkable as it was disappointing. The control the away side displayed on the field was perplexing and maddening. They had their Weetabix and Louis van Gaal had Brendan Rodgers in his pocket. It was Ashley Cole against Cristiano Ronaldo all over again.
One goal down. Half time. Let's go again. Here's the captain. There goes the captain. Mata. Again. Sturridge. No goal for Rooney. Weekend over, except that there was more. The new week has begun with injuries to a raft of players. Martin Skrtel was charged (and already sentenced, if we're being frank) by the FA for his stamp on David de Gea. He'll be banned. Steven Gerrard will be banned. Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, and possibly Simon Mignolet are set to remain with Liverpool during the international break due to injury. How many of the four will be fit for the trip to London for what will be virtually a must-win game against Arsenal?
Manchester United shouldn't have drawn so much from one game against Liverpool, but that appears to be the case. Louis van Gaal scored a tactical victory against the Premier League's sole undefeated side in 2015, and Brendan Rodgers suffered the same tactical problems twice in a week. Liverpool made a fine recovery after defeat in mid-December to the same side, and it will take a similar response to stand a chance of finishing in the top four.
Disappointing defeat in December was followed by an impressive away victory against Championship opponents in a domestic cup and a draw against Arsenal. Liverpool are faced with those two prospects once again, albeit in a different order, and will need to improve on the reaction shown late last year. The break will allow a few players to recover or sharpen their condition, but more importantly, the next two weeks gives Brendan Rodgers time to concoct a plan against Arsenal.
Everything's the worst right now and we'll have to wait for a while to see if it gets better. 2015 has been a good year so far, but the world of football never stops reminding fans that a day can be a long time indeed.