ELIMINATION from the League Cup has meant there is one less front for Liverpool to fight on but manager Brendan Rodgers has acknowledged he cannot keep relying on Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.
With a far better squad than Rodgers possesses, Liverpool's captain and their only fit senior striker would not have played 45 minutes in a vain attempt to turn the tide against Swansea on Wednesday night. After the game, nobody at Anfield was spouting the cliché that this was a competition they were well rid of. Liverpool are the League Cup holders.
In the home dressing room, Liverpool keeper Brad Jones, arguably the only member of their starting line-up to enhance his reputation, said: "The feeling we got last season going to Wembley and lifting the trophy was fantastic. It was one we wanted to replicate."
In the aftermath of a comprehensive 3-1 defeat, Rodgers described his squad as "small and thin", adding that the problems would take two transfer windows to rectify.
"For this match, I looked at the young players and the fringe players and tried to give them the opportunity to get into the Premier League team," Rodgers added.
"I gave the players the opportunity to come in and shine -- and that is all you can do as a coach or a manager. I can't keep playing Steven Gerrard and using Luis Suarez as our only striker."
Rodgers was asked if he was not frustrated by a reliance on these two senior players.
"But that is where the club is at," he said. "I would have loved to have given Gerrard and Suarez that rest because they have been played continuously and they are the catalysts for the team, but when you need them you need them."
Given the pressure on Suarez, it seems extraordinary Rodgers will not recall Andy Carroll from his loan at West Ham.
The striker's return would at a stroke give Liverpool a Plan B.
However, the suspicion was always that Carroll's departure was a statement of intent by Rodgers -- and they are the hardest to reverse.