LIVERPOOL - Liverpool's new owners were on the receiving end of England's terrace humour for the first time on Sunday, as Everton fans celebrated a commanding 2-0 win in the Merseyside derby with chants of "What a waste of money".
Only time will tell the accuracy of such jibes but John W Henry and Tom Werner, having chosen to watch their first game as owners from the home of their city rivals, can have no doubts about the scale of the on-field problems facing them.
The drama surrounding Liverpool's ownership battle, decided only on Friday after a Dallas court had lifted an order restraining the 300 million-pound sale to New England Sports Ventures, partly overshadowed the problems in the team.
But there can be no hiding them now, with Sunday's defeat sending Liverpool down a place to second bottom of the table with just six points from eight matches.
The welcome mat may be rolled out for Henry in the home match against Blackburn next Sunday but the most pressing issue from the point of view of the 3,000 supporters packing into the visiting section of Goodison Park was victory.
Put simply, it never looked like coming, as England's most successful club, albeit one that has now gone 20 years without a league title, were exposed in every area of the pitch.
Tim Cahill smashed in the opener in the 34th minute and by the time Mikel Arteta's spectacular goal had doubled the lead five minutes after the break those Liverpool supporters looked as beaten and disillusioned as their heroes on the field.
After a poor World Cup with Spain, Fernando Torres remains a shadow of the player who used to make life miserable for Premier League defences, the midfield lacks creativity with Steven Gerrard the only source of even occasional danger, and the defence offered little security.
Henry, in news conference on Saturday, had spoken of his intention to see Liverpool go toe-to-toe with the very best in the English game.
On the basis of this performance it will need investment on a huge scale to compete with such opposition.
The owners also have a tough decision to make on how much longer to extend their vote of confidence in manager Roy Hodgson, who defended Liverpool's performance while accepting that talk of crisis was only going to intensify.
"The new owners making it clear I'm the right man to do the job, you're always happy to hear that, but whether that's changed after today I don't know," Hodgson told Sky television.
"I don't feel it to be a crisis, because the way we played today... I don't think anyone would believe that's the level of football a team in the bottom three or four would play.
"But there's six points from eight games and that's a very, very poor return and we do need to start winning and climbing up that table soon.
"Until we do so I dare say the word 'crisis' will be bandied around."comments