In the end, it was difficult to know what was the more depressing and shocking: that moment when Luis Suárez walked past Patrice Evra, refused to shake his hand and reminded us this is a man whose brains are all in his feet, or afterwards when Kenny Dalglish tried to stare down the questions before coming up with a response that was so outlandishly flawed it made you wonder where he was storing all the qualities which we once associated with him?
What Suárez did was callous, premeditated and dimwitted to the point that, if Liverpool had any sense, they would have condemned it on the spot and at least salvaged a semblance of dignity. Instead, they reverted to their default setting whenever Suárez comes under scrutiny: this half-baked conspiracy that everyone is against them and that the only way to combat this is to go on the attack themselves. Outraged by everything, ashamed of nothing.
Perhaps we should be used to it by now but it was still shocking to see Dalglish, one of the giants of our game, eyeballing his interviewer and tell him that it was "bang out of order" to suggest that Suárez had done anything even remotely wrong.
At least Sir Alex Ferguson, so aggrieved he said Suárez should never be allowed to wear Liverpool's colours again, could step out of his own anger to acknowledge that Patrice Evra should have resisted his post-match victory dance.
This was the moment when Dalglish should have taken a deep breath and admitted that, yes, it was wrong of Suárez, unhelpful and immature, and he would be pointing this out to his player. Instead, he played dumb. He had no idea what had happened in the fair-play handshake and, in the absence of a polygraph, Robert De Niro would have been proud of his dramatic pose.
Then he realised the questions were not going to end there and it was here the paranoia, the blind bias and pigheaded denials all merged into one.
At one point he switched the subject to blame Sky. "When we had the FA Cup tie, because there was no 24-hour news channel, nothing happened." He cited the fact there were only two bookings in this game, ignoring that there were two separate flash points when police and fluorescent-jacketed security guards had to separate the players. Most pathetically of all, there were suggestions later on it was actually Evra who withdrew his hand. It was claptrap and, wisely, nobody from Anfield dared say it on the record.
Perhaps Suárez felt he had to corroborate the line that he has peddled all along, namely that it was all a bunch of spiteful lies on Evra's behalf. Plainly, he still maintains that calling someone "negro" during an argument is fine for a Spanish speaker, even if one of the best QCs in the country had deemed parts of his defence were "unsustainable and simply incredible". It is difficult, to be honest, to know what was going on between his ears.
"I couldn't believe it," Ferguson said. "I just could not believe it. We had a chat this morning and Patrice said: 'I'm going to shake his hand, I have nothing to be ashamed of, I'm going to keep my dignity.' And he [Suárez] refuses. The history that club has got … and he does that. It could have caused a riot. I was really disappointed in that guy."
Evra had grabbed Suárez's arm to remonstrate but it was just as quickly pulled away again. Rio Ferdinand looked at Suárez with contempt. "I lost all respect for the guy," Ferdinand said later. "After seeing what he did, I decided I couldn't shake his hand." From Danny Welbeck, there was only the briefest touch of flesh on flesh. These players had agonised this week about whether they should conform and, in the end, they decided they had to do it because the alternative would be that they kept the racism issue going. "The referee didn't know what to do," Ferguson said. "It was a terrible start to the game, a terrible atmosphere it created."
Ferguson had written in his programme notes that his "biggest regret is the way Patrice has been castigated in some quarters for standing up to racism". Now he let it all out. "For a club with their history, I'd get rid of him, I really would," he said. "Liverpool Football Club have a player banned for eight matches, and they've tried to blame Patrice Evra? It's him they should be bloody blaming. He could have cost them a European place. He is a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club. That player should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again."
When the dust settles Evra may reflect it was silly to celebrate so provocatively at the end but, by that stage, he was probably entitled to a little triumphalism. He has been abused, demonised, booed and jeered since reporting Suárez to the referee at Anfield last October. Here was his chance to indulge in some schadenfreude and he took it, celebrating as though this were the last football match of his life.
He had been wrong, as well, to hunt out Suárez at half-time but, for those of us in the press box, the abiding memory of that point was the clutch of former Liverpool players stood around, shaking their heads and concluding with a mixture of embarrassment and horror that Dalglish would have to remove Suárez.
It had become clear very quickly that the Uruguayan was dangerously wound up but, seriously, was there any realistic prospect Dalglish would withdraw him? As far as the Scot is concerned, Suárez is beyond reproach. That, quite possibly, is the most alarming thing of all.