WHEN, for the umpteenth time, Shay Given ambled to retrieve possession for a goal kick on Saturday, a visibly infuriated Craig Bellamy turned to fourth official Phil Dowd and made clear his disgust at such obvious time-wasting.
Kenny Dalglish, meanwhile, stood impassive on the touchline, arms folded and deep in thought.
He knows it wasn’t just at the weekend that Liverpool were running out of time.
With a mere five days to go, the clock is now counting down on the FA Cup semi-final showdown with Everton and what is likely to prove a watershed moment of Dalglish’s second Anfield coming.
And the evidence continues to suggest that Liverpool are undercooked, unprepared and under pressure going into the derby Wembley date.
There was a throbbing sense of déjà vu at Anfield on Saturday, as Liverpool frittered away chances, struck the woodwork four more times and allowed two more home points to slip through their butterfingers.
Yet that such a frustratingly familiar story should represent progress underlines the problems that are burying themselves further and further into the psyche of Dalglish and his players.
Liverpool were much improved on their dismal capitulation at Newcastle United, particularly during a stirring second-half display when they finally demonstrated a hunger, heart and desire to dig themselves out of a hole.
That, though, isn’t saying much, not least because the injury-hit opposition were arguably the worst Aston Villa side to visit in Premier League history.
Only Luis Suarez’s 82nd-minute equaliser prevented Liverpool from plumbing new depths with a seventh defeat in eight league games after Chris Herd’s shock early opener.
Tomorrow’s trip to struggling Blackburn Rovers is a final chance to build confidence and at least some momentum going into the weekend Wembley clash.
But with Dalglish hinting at resting players ahead of the derby semi-final, it appears the Liverpool manager has taken until Easter to decide to put all his eggs in one basket.
Not that the Scot knows his best side. How can he?
Throughout Liverpool’s poor Premier League run – they have no taken just five points from nine games, their worst return since the miserable winter of 2002-03 – Dalglish has chopped and changed his side with little obvious improvement.
Players have come in and been dropped without warning, shifted from one position to another, often two or three times within the space of a single match.