LONDON • Even Roberto Martinez, who can attach a silver lining to the darkest cloud, cannot put a positive spin on this.
It was a calamitous night for Everton and their embattled manager as they were swept aside with embarrassing ease by a rampant Liverpool 4-0 at Anfield on Wednesday.
To make matters worse, their defensive crisis deepened as Ramiro Funes Mori was sent off and John Stones injured before tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley.
Stones limped off on the hour, after goals from Divock Origi, Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Sturridge had put Liverpool in an unassailable position in the Premier League game.
Perhaps it was only a precautionary measure, with the United tie in mind, but Stones, Martinez and Everton will look back in horror at an evening when they needed things to go right and yet everything went wrong.
With 16 minutes remaining, Philippe Coutinho made it four. By that stage, Stones and Funes Mori were in the dressing room, there were a large number of empty seats in the away end and Martinez was looking extremely isolated on the touch-line.
The half-time statistics showed that Liverpool had mustered 18 goal attempts to Everton's three.
Two goals down, Martinez needed to do something to stabilise Everton. His solution - surprisingly - was to replace Gareth Barry with Muhamed Besic.
And so the Toffees' evening went from bad to worse five minutes into the second half, with Funes Mori shown a straight red card for an ugly stamp on Origi.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looked unhappy when the challenge was made. When he saw the damage, with the stretcher required, he gestured indignantly towards the Everton bench.
One may wonder how many the Reds might score against a makeshift back four of Bryan Oviedo, James McCarthy, Besic and Leighton Baines. They contented themselves with just one more, by Coutinho.
Klopp, while admitting that his team were enjoying their football, refused to get carried away with the victory, which lifted the Reds to seventh spot on 54 points.
The German said: "We did well. Usually after a 4-0 win I don't know how to keep the smile off my face, but tonight it's pretty easy.
"We could have done better, but lost some patience in the wrong moments.
"We forced some things too early and we didn't have the movements, especially not behind the line.
"The game changed completely in the second half and when Stones also had to come off. It was not easy for Everton.
"We are in a good moment - that's how it is. We made good chances and we could have scored more."
Indeed, the only surprise of the game was the home side's failure to inflict further humiliation on Everton from 37 attempts on goal by the final whistle.
Martinez had no excuses following the destructive defeat and admitted that it was the worst possible preparation for tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final clash with Louis van Gaal's revived side.
"It was disastrous," he said.
"It was shocking, it was a horrible experience for everyone connected to the football club and it was a game that turned on us not defending well enough before half-time.
"We tried to regroup after the break and the first action of the second half is a red card incident, then the game becomes a non-event, especially with the big game we have around the corner.
"From that point on, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
"We lost concentration, but that is football. We have to reward our fans with a proper performance in the FA Cup semi-final now."
Not for the first time, Martinez looks to the Cup for salvation.
But it may all end in desolation yet again.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE