With their main goal threat away in Argentina, around £44 million of new signings starting on the substitute’s bench and their captain still recovering from injury, Liverpool's pre-season defeat at Hull will not set alarm bells ringing at Anfield.
But it cannot be dismissed and Kenny Dalglish, under pressure to improve the club's fortunes after spending £100 million since returning as manager in January, did not mince his words after his team's 3-0 setback against the Championship club.
"The lads are at various degrees of fitness for the matches," said Dalglish, who used no fewer than 22 players at the KC Stadium.
"Someone like Jordan Henderson has only trained for a week, so it's a bit too much to ask him to start the game.
"But if they're going to stake a claim for a first team place, they've got to earn it. We've given them every opportunity to get themselves fit and try and earn the right to play in the first team, but they'll need to do better than that if they want it."
Dalglish might have been one of the most pro-active Premier League managers in the transfer market this summer.
But not everyone is convinced that he has spent wisely.
Hefty fees have been paid to bring Stewart Downing and Henderson, who both made their debuts in the second half, to Merseyside and both have to settle quickly and deliver.
"It wasn't a good result but that's what pre season is about and we'll learn from our mistakes," said Henderson.
Downing also shrugged off the result. "Pre-season is all about fitness," said the England winger.
While it is pointless to read too much into a friendly result, particularly when so many players are used over 90 minutes, Dalglish will have come away from Humberside determined as ever to get rid of the fringe players who are clogging up the dressing room.
The likes of Christian Poulsen, Joe Cole and David Ngog all started as the visitors found themselves 2-0 down before Dalglish made wholesale changes at the start of the second half and offered a line up slightly closer to the one that Liverpool will begin the new season with against Sunderland on August 13.
Charlie Adam mostly operated from a deep central midfield position in a 4-2-3-1 formation while Downing hugged the touchlines and Henderson spent his time on the pitch in a central attacking position just behind Andy Carroll.
These are early days. But as Dalglish will no doubt be aware, the clock is ticking.