It's hard to assess whether a full-strength, fully motivated Liverpool side could have matched Swansea in Sunday's 3-1 defeat, but it couldn't have hurt.
What actually transpired was fairly embarrassing and can only be put down to an attempt at a false impression for Villarreal spies watching their upcoming Europa League opponents. Swansea were committed but didn't have to be much else to win comfortably.
A number of Liverpool players were hampered by the team selection and formation set down by manager Jurgen Klopp, who will face yet more interrogation about his relationship with Daniel Sturridge after this shabby afternoon.
A fairly pointless fixture was given an equally pointless approach on a day Liverpool fans will want to forget as soon as possible.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Danny Ward, 6 -- One of the few players who did his job, particularly given the wispy protection he was given. Some might question whether headed goals should be conceded within the 6-yard box, but overall he made decent saves and couldn't really be faulted.
DF Nathaniel Clyne, 6 -- Like Ward he did not let himself or his team down, unlike the rest of the defence. Given a stern test by Jefferson Montero, he largely stuck to his task, though he rarely supported the forwards whenever presented with the few opportunities to do so.
DF Martin Skrtel, 4 -- Defenders need protection too, and the inexperience in front of him made his job doubly hard. It's doubtful he could have done it anyway, however, his performance virtually confirming he will leave the club soon. There have been too many games this season when his mere presence has affected all around him.
DF Dejan Lovren, 5 -- Initially resistant to the ineptitude all around him, but as the game progressed, he sank into the same incompetence as everyone else. Seemed better once Lucas entered the fray, but when Swansea regained a two-goal advantage, he just wanted the game to end.
DF Brad Smith, 4 -- With doubts over Alberto Moreno, this was a chance for the Australian to make an impression. He did so but not the impression he'd wanted. Kept committing fouls until the referee finally saw one too many and sent him off for two yellow cards.
MF Kevin Stewart, 6 -- Earning an extra mark for persistence and character, he simply shouldn't have had to play alongside the even more inexperienced Pedro Chirivella. Good early tackles and hustle were to no avail.
MF Pedro Chirivella, 3 -- Lucky to last until half time before being hauled off, the player was simply out of his depth, especially when he could not even depend upon more experienced colleagues to bail him out. Weak in possession, not aggressive enough for central midfield and just not ready to play at this level.
MF Jordon Ibe, 4 -- Not helped by Klopp's insistence on playing his wingers on their unfavoured sides in the first half, but even in the second half on the right wing he barely looked interested. It seems he knows he is surplus to requirements long term and doesn't feel the need to show this manager that he's wrong.
MF Sheyi Ojo, 5 -- Managed a little more than Ibe, though that wasn't saying much. One or two runs weren't enough to make any impression on the game and couldn't supply good crosses even when Christian Benteke provided a suitable target.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 4 -- Peculiar selection to begin with. If there were still traces of the illness that forced him off the pitch at Villarreal on Thursday, he simply shouldn't have played. Did almost nothing and was also replaced at half time.
FW Daniel Sturridge, 5 -- Mostly aggravating, with the occasional glimmer of his unquestionable talent. Played as though he thought the game was beneath him, reckless in possession and grumbling or scowling throughout. Many will have sympathy for him though, and if not selected for the Europa League semifinal second leg on Thursday, the gossip over his departure will become deafening.
FW Christian Benteke, 6 -- Managed a goal after coming on as substitute. During Benteke's time at Anfield, neither Brendan Rodgers nor Klopp have tried to get a team to provide the forward with the proper service. His one chance hit the back of the net, so the inability to create more for him was irritating to say the least.
MF Lucas, 6 -- His presence seemed to stabilise the Reds. He certainly improved possession and provided security at the back. He then ruined all that by senselessly delaying his pass just before the defensive implosion that led to Swansea's third goal.
MF Cameron Brannagan, N/R -- Other than Klopp's chosen method of showing displeasure with Ibe, this was a pointless substitution that did not affect the game one iota. With Liverpool down to 10 men anyway, Brannagan could make no impression.