Ultimately it cane down, as we knew it would, to the actions of one man; to the influence that one Liverpool player had on the third round of the Capital One Cup.
Jose Enrique lost his man at a corner and Liverpool are out of a cup.
Which is not to take anything away from the scorer of the goal that separated the two teams; Javier Hernandez is a magnificent player and his movement to escape the hapless Enrique and improvisation to open up his body and guide Nani's corner past a blameless Mignolet was of the highest order.
After a dominant,controlling performance in the first half with Liverpool adapting nicely to a change of formation to 3-4-1-2, Victor Moses fitting nicely into the old Steve McManaman role and Enrique seemingly playing safely to his attacking strengths rather than his defensive inconsistencies, falling asleep at a set piece yet again was the worst possible way to start the second half. That Jamie Carragher has publicly admitted that he stopped talking to Jose Enrique due to the Spanish player's inability to follow basic instruction tells us a great deal about the weaknesses in our left back's game intelligence, this one lapse in concentration would eventually cost us the evening.
Following this error we had an evenly balanced game; Liverpool pushed,used the ball well, kept possession convincingly but rarely threatened, each attack breaking down with either a poorly chosen final pass or wasteful finishing.
We could take satisfaction in the manner of our play, in the way that we matched the champions on their own ground. Unfortunately the Manchester United that we matched was Manchester United reserves with a heavily changed side of fringe players (lovely to have a fringe player of the quality of Chicarito, isn't it?) grasping the chance to impress their new manager after the first eleven's embarrassment against their Mancunian neighbours at the weekend.
A near full strength Liverpool should be more than capable of breaking down a central defence of Evans and Smalling. That they didn't shows the distance still to travel in Brendan Rodgers' rebuilding.
So, a good performance away at Old Trafford, an assured adaptation to a system that may well become our default setting given the players at our disposal but out of a cup already. No Europe, only the League and the FA Cup to focus on now, hopefully this lack of games will help us in our quest for the highest possible finish that we can achieve.
Sorry, is there something that I'm missing here?
Of course. Luis came back. Suarez returned from his ten match ban and managed not to bite anybody or abuse anybody or antagonise anybody. Instead Luis did what he does best, he received the ball and he ran at defenders and scared the life out of them. His link up play with Daniel Sturridge returned to the promising level that it had hit before the Ivanovic 'incident', his free kick was deflected onto the bar and he had a shot smothered by De Gea. In return though Kagawa saw his excellent shot hit the Liverpool bar and Simon Mignolet provided his usual collection of excellent saves in a thoroughly entertaining match.
With this squad, with this formation, with these alternatives and with Johnson, Coutinho and (possibly crucially) our on loan left back Aly Cissokho to return from injury, Liverpool can push on from tonight, inability to break down Manchester United reserves notwithstanding.
And there you have it, not the story you thought it would be but it just goes to show; it's not all about Luis Suarez anymore.
More Liverpool Opinion...