Roy Hodgson's tortured reign as Liverpool manager looked to be drawing to a close after his return to former club Blackburn turned into a personal ordeal at Ewood Park.
After seeing another abject Liverpool performance punished with three goals inside an hour, mocking chants of 'You're getting sacked in the morning' from the home crowd were suddenly ringing out at the other end of the ground, as thousands of disgruntled travelling fans vented their anger on the hapless Hodgson.
Two much: Blackburn's Benjani Mwaruwari, left, celebrates after scoring his second goal against Liverpool
The visiting contingent followed up with more cries for Kenny Dalglish to be installed as Hodgson's successor and their wish may be granted before the week is out.
As Liverpool's owners tried to digest the implications of another dispiriting setback, there were growing claims that the former Fulham manager could be dismissed in the next 48 hours, with club legend Dalglish stepping in while a permanent replacement is sought.
Hodgson looked resigned to his fate as he cut short his post-match press conference at the first mention of his survival prospects, less than two minutes after walking into Ewood Park's media room.
'If you are Liverpool and you lose to Blackburn, there is nothing that can be said to put a positive slant on things,' he said. 'It has been a really bad day for me and there is not much I can add, other than to assure the fans that their depression is being felt in the dressing room. I don't intend answering any questions about my position, so that's it.'
Can't look: Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson
The suffering Hodgson could not even point to signs of fight from his dishevelled team, as Fernando Torres chose self-preservation ahead of keeping possession by pulling out of what should have been a 50-50 challenge with Chris Samba in only the 13th minute.
It set the tone as Blackburn went in search of a breakthrough in a one-sided first half and stunned lacklustre Liverpool with two goals in six minutes.
Martin Olsson helped himself to the first in the 32nd minute, as he latched on to a clever pass from Mame Diouf and rifled a low drive between the legs of advancing keeper Pepe Reina.
Liverpool were still trying to absorb the setback when Morten Gamst Pedersen chipped a pass towards Benjani, who was being shadowed by Sotirios Kyrgiakos just inside the area.
Opener: Martin Olsson (right) nets Blackburn's first goal of the night
It summed up Liverpool's deficiencies on the night, and for much of a misfiring campaign, that the experienced Greece centre- back allowed himself to be turned with ease. Benjani spun and crashed a volley over Reina's head and into the roof of the net.
Liverpool went off at half time to a chorus of boos and the animosity only grew louder for Hodgson and his crestfallen players as Blackburn extended their lead in the 58th minute.
Again the level of defending left much to be desired, as winger Junior Hoilett somehow wriggled his way past limp challenges from Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel on the left by-line and cut the ball back for Benjani to stab home from close range.
The vilification aimed at the away dug-out was now at its most vicious, with repeated chants of 'Dalglish' and 'You're getting sacked in the morning' followed by a new rendition of the recent 'Hodgson for England' chorus.
Master blaster: Benjani strikes for the first time to give Rovers a two-goal lead
Liverpool eventually reduced the arrears in the 82nd minute, when a Torres shot from substitute Dirk Kuyt's cross deflected off a defender and fell for Steven Gerrard to hammer home.
But even hopes of late revival proved cruelly false, as Hodgson was forced to endure one last blow.
Gerrard was floored by Michel Salgado and picked himself up for the resulting penalty. With four minutes left, there could still have been time to salvage a precious point - only for the Liverpool skipper to hit the spot-kick over.
Number three: Benjani (right) slides the ball past Pepe Reina
Match zone Blackburn v Liverpool: how the action unfolded at Ewood ParkClub-by-club guide to every Premier League transfer deal during JanuaryAll the latest Blackburn news, features and opinionAll the latest Liverpool news, features and opinion
Explore more:People: Martin Olsson, Glen Johnson, Kenny Dalglish, Fernando Torres, Martin Skrtel, Roy Hodgson, Steven Gerrard, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt Places: Liverpool, Greece, United Kingdom