It was the snapshot that perhaps signalled the beginning of the end for Rafael Benitez.
The number on the electronic scoreboard read ‘9’, and it meant Fernando Torres was being hauled off despite Liverpool, still in the hunt for Champions League qualification, having been pegged back to 1-1 by Birmingham City with 25 minutes still remaining.
There was an audible gasp among the travelling supporters, a confused hush in the commentary box, a momentary pause among the Liverpool players.
Then the camera swiftly panned to Steven Gerrard, whose brief shake of the head summed up the feelings of many.
The Anfield outfit would not go on to win the game and Torres would play only once more in a season that ended in disappointment, disillusionment and a departure for Benitez.
Now Liverpool return to St Andrews on Sunday for the first time since that damaging April draw with the fitness of their Spanish striker still high on the agenda.
However, rather than the seemingly haphazard approach towards the end of the Benitez era that almost certainly cost Torres his best form at the subsequent World Cup in South Africa, there appears to be a more methodical, cautious approach among the Liverpool sports science team.
Torres has started two games for Liverpool this season since recovering from an adductor problem, ending a four-month goal drought with the winner against West Bromwich Albion a fortnight ago.
He then scored twice for Spain in their Euro 2012 qualifying victory in Liechtenstein but was an unused substitute in his country’s glamour friendly in Argentina on Tuesday evening.
And Hodgson admits Liverpool have no intention of over-exerting Torres in the coming months.
“I think he will be able to play three games in seven or eight days,” says the Liverpool manager. “But if you can spare your players, you want to do that. He is as capable as anyone of doing it. But how fair is it to ask players to do that on a regular basis? It would be tough.
“The thing about Fernando is that he went to the World Cup with an injury, played throughout without being fully fit and we are anxious now to make sure through this season that he will be fully fit. When he is fully fit, he will be able to play three times a week.
“But I am hoping that won’t happen because if I am having to do that, week after week, I will lose players like I did at Fulham. You just can’t ask them to take on that work load at the level we are talking about.”
Sunday will be the latest chance for Liverpool to address the poor away form that has seen them register just one Premier League victory on their travels this calendar year.
They were soundly beaten at Manchester City last month with the Anfield outfit sitting 13th in the embryonic top-flight standings.
But Hodgson will not make any assessment on how well his side are
“I know how many points we have but I don’t know what that means in terms of the table,” he says. “I think tables are of no interest until at least 10 games have been played.
“Then you start looking to see how big a gap there is between yourself and the top teams or between yourself and the bottom teams. I don’t think you worry about that after three games.
“The program plays a big part in that and we’ve already played Arsenal at home and Manchester City away.
“Injuries play a part as well when teams don’t have their best team available early on but will do soon. After 10 games I will start worrying about the table but until then I’ll worry more about performances and results.”