If a single snapshot could be said to encapsulate just how far Liverpool have regressed as a club in this waking nightmare of a season, then surely it came with 10 minutes remaining of their 2-0 loss at Newcastle - a result which represented a sixth defeat in seven games in the league.
As Andy Carroll - a man once laughably valued at £35 million by the Anfield hierarchy but who, on Sunday, decided not to fulfil his natural obligations as a striker and instead of shooting chose to indulge in an embarrassing dive when rounding Tim Krul - made his way off the pitch after 80 minutes he threw a few insulting words at Kenny Dalgish and cast that hallowed shirt to the ground as he slunk straight into the bowels of a stadium he once called home.
Carroll, a player who may very likely become known as the greatest waste of money in the history of Liverpool Football Club, and possibly English football, so publicly disrespected a scorer of 172 goals for the club and a winner of three European Cups, a man synonymous with all that is great about Liverpool. Dalglish, the spiritual core of the club, abused by a player who has been protected by his manager for so long yet, more than any other, epitomises the abject yet expensive mediocrity that pervades a once great institution.
Early Doors thinks you will agree, as a metaphor for Liverpool's alarming decline it was pretty potent.
Public humiliation is not part of the fabric of a club where doing something 'the Liverpool way' means to do it quietly and with humility, yet public humiliation was what enveloped Dalglish and his players as they were defeated yet again. Mocked by fans of a club now 11 points above them in the league, the harrowing experience was complete for Liverpool when Jose Enrique was forced to end the match in goal after a frankly idiotic red card for Jose Reina.
His decision to push his head into that of amateur dramatist James Perch, who, ED notes, before throwing himself to the ground so spectacularly had actually done a decent impression of a Premier League defender for once, has cost the Spanish keeper the chance to face Everton in an FA Cup semi-final.
A club like Liverpool should be immune to such slapstick embarrassment, yet in these end times they are not. And though it is desperately sad to see Dalglish wilt more and more as defeat follows defeat - and unedifying to see legions of Newcastle fans chant with relish "you're getting sacked in the morning" - this is a situation of his own making. His history with the club cannot shield him any longer.
It is he and his colleagues in the boardroom at Anfield who have brought Liverpool to their knees and presided over such a stark degradation in quality and ability. For a man so emotionally invested in the club, it must be painful in the extreme to witness.
His great legacy has come to be partially tarnished by an expansive yet deeply flawed transfer policy, overseen by owners FSG, and subsequent events this season when Liverpool have resembled a midtable side, or worse of late: only Wolves have secured fewer points in 2012 and the Reds are now on their worst run of form in 58 years.
The question now is: do Liverpool's owners truly believe that Dalglish remains the right man to take the club forward, irrespective of their Carling Cup triumph and the possibility of FA Cup glory still to come? Patience is a rare virtue in football, and though Dalglish probably deserves more time, it would surely be folly to expect American businessmen to slavishly pander to the more sentimental elements of the club's support and keep him on for old times' sake. They will need assurances that Champions League football can be achieved by the current regime, assurances that will be hard to provide with a straight face.
The ranks of supporters actively fighting Kenny's corner are growing ever more depleted, especially with Liverpool eighth in the table and now sitting below Everton, a club with a fraction of their budget yet infinitely more pride at present. ED suspects many Liverpool fans are hoping for a dignified transition to occur in the summer, rather than a messy divorce.
ED would strike a minor note of caution and say that Liverpool have certainly played worse than they did on Sunday - Danny Simpson should have been sent off and a penalty awarded at 0-0, while the visiting side created a number of good chances - yet it is worrying that the club and Dalglish appear unable to bend the course of events to their will. Destiny has aligned against Liverpool and their manager. Storylines are writing themselves.
Take Sunday for instance. With Carroll seeing Papiss Cisse wearing the number nine shirt that used to be his on Tyneside, it was with grim inevitability that the Liverpool striker himself had a stinker while Cisse shone. With seven goals in seven games for the club since his move from Freiburg, he has now outscored Carroll's tally in 14 months at Liverpool, and has produced one less embarrassing tantrum on the sidelines.
Carroll had been goaded all game by Newcastle fans, some of whom labelled him "Judas" when Liverpool arrived at the ground. Yet the antipathy was a touch bizarre: with hindsight, were the Geordies in attendance not delighted to see Carroll become the eighth most expensive player in the history of football?
At the time his departure was mourned due to a lack of replacements - Demba Ba would take six months to arrive and Cisse 12 - but most suspected it was a dud deal for Liverpool. Just as many, ED included, felt players of the calibre of Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam were never up to the task. They have all been multi-million pound failures, sanctioned by Damien Comolli and Dalglish in a transfer strategy that has arguably done more to erode the quality available to the club than the final dark days under Rafa Benitez or even Roy Hodgson and his Christian Poulsen/Paul Konchesky debacle.
Liverpool, though some of their fans may not be ready to accept it yet, are very simply a very average team as a result. Perhaps even poor. That is certainly what a run of six defeats in seven suggests.
Moreover, their best player brought considerable shame on the club when being banned earlier in the season for racially abusing a fellow professional. ED brings that up not to have an easy pop at Liverpool - and God knows they are making it easy this season - but because it is a key issue when assessing Dalglish's faltering reign.
Only the most blinkered Red would commend Dalglish for his horrible handling of a horrible situation that finally saw Liverpool show a hint of contrition following pressure from their sponsors. Dalglish's indulgence of Luis Suarez and refusal to condemn his behaviour would have left a stain on his record even if Liverpool had enjoyed a decent season on the pitch.
On the biggest issue to affect the club this season, Dalglish was found seriously wanting, while results in the league speak for themselves. ED isn't demanding that Kenny must go, he should at least be given until the end of the season to prove he is capable of turning things around, but if results do not improve, can we really expect John W Henry to remain in thrall to a relic of the club's now so distant golden era?
Probably not when even the most partisan of supporters are increasingly losing faith in him and his most expensive signing - a man he has shielded from deserved criticism for so long - shows such public and open dissent to a legendary figure. The petulant Carroll might be unworthy of a club like Liverpool, but so are the performances being overseen by the manager.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It was Cisse's best performance yet for us. We all had curried goat on Friday and delicious it was too. It was Africa Day and we enjoyed it. The curry helped!" - Alan Pardew explains the secret behind Papiss Cisse's success.
FOREIGN VIEW: "It is with a heavy heart the New York Cosmos report that... Cosmos legend Giorgio Chinaglia has passed away this morning. Giorgio was one of the most exceptional players to ever play in the United States and was the Cosmos's greatest player ever. Our condolences and thoughts are with Giorgio's family at this time." - A club that also boasted Pele and Franz Beckenbauer in their ranks pay the ultimate tribute to former Italy and Lazio striker Giorgio Chinaglia, who passed away at the age of 65 on Sunday. Chinaglia scored 242 goals in 254 games for the Cosmos.
COMING UP: Manchester United have the chance to extend their lead to five points when visiting Blackburn Rovers, and as always we will have live commentary on the game that kicks off at 8pm.
Before that, you can catch up on all the weekend's action with our detailed highlights and our selection of the goals of the week. We will also be publishing our team of the week at lunchtime, when Paul Parker also weighs in with his take on the weekend's action.