SURPRISED and disappointed on Tuesday evening. Simply disappointed the next.
After all, there can be no great shock at the manner in which Liverpool FC lost ground and momentum in the battle to reassert their Champions League qualification credentials.
Here was their season in microcosm: another game, another glut of spurned opportunities, another inspired opposing goalkeeper, another story of what could have been.
There was even another missed penalty – a fourth from five this campaign – as Kenny Dalglish’s profligate side allowed a dogged Wigan Athletic to claim a goalless draw last night.
Yes, that the scoresheet remained unblemished was primarily down to an inspired performance from Latics goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
But this has happened too often now. Hard luck stories have a limited shelf-life before misfortune makes way for misgivings, and there are now plenty given a worrying lack of cutting edge.
If their defence remains the meanest in the Premier League, then their forward line is certainly the most frustrating. 20 goals in 17 games is not good enough.
That the attack could now be shorn of its best player for a significant spell gives Dalglish much to ponder ahead of next month’s transfer window.
Liverpool did enough to win. Instead, this was another blow barely 24 hours after being left bewildered at discovering Luis Suarez is facing an eight-match ban having been found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
With Liverpool pondering whether to appeal, Suarez lined up at the DW Stadium last night and gave the visitors an opportunity to win the game by winning a penalty six minutes into the second half.
However, Charlie Adam followed Suarez, Dirk Kuyt and Andy Carroll in failing from 12 yards, Al Habsi diving to his left to produce an excellent save.
So continues Liverpool’s indifferent recent record at Wigan, where they have still not won since September 2007.
It’s not that Dalglish’s men played poorly. They didn’t, and during a dominant opening 20 minutes an eighth win in nine away games seemed an inevitability.
But Roberto Martinez’s Wigan deserve credit for the manner in which they refused to yield, contributing fully to an absorbing encounter.
Liverpool’s players had warmed up while each wearing a white t-shirt with Suarez’s name and number seven emblazoned on the back.
While an admirable act of solidarity, it nevertheless left the Anfield outfit open to accusations of crass arrogance from supporters of clubs who know all too well about the dangers of falling into such a trap.
If the FA were somehow unaware of the depth of feeling among Liverpool supporters, then it became patently clear before kick-off.