Lest some ex-stars forget, one of the oldest Liverpool FC adages is that 'form is temporary, class is permanent'.
While average players can have good games, and top players have awful games, only the truly gifted achieve the greatest exploits; the things that are won, or awarded, after consistent excellence.
It's possible for the best to struggle. It happens all the time. However, it's virtually impossible for the worst to prosper, beyond a brief blazing.
Ask Ali Dai, the beyond-hopeless (at Premier League level) non-league player Graeme Souness gave a league outing to at Southampton, in probably the worst case of scouting known to the sport; all it took to sign and play him was the lie of him being a relative of George Weah.
(At this time I was also in non-league football. By the time I rang to say that I was Diego Maradona's second cousin once removed, the manager wasn't answering his calls.)
Average players and managers might have a run of moderate success, but it doesn't last, and it doesn't add up to much.
However, my take is that you do not win two La Liga titles, reach two European Cup finals (winning one), and land both the UEFA and FA Cup in an eight-year time-frame - and do so at non-dominant clubs (at the point you arrive) - if you are not special.
You also don't come agonisingly close to the league title with a points haul that puts many champions to shame, and do so with a wage bill that detailed economic research (in the book Soccernomics: Why England Lose, and in the Times' Fink Tank section) suggests such feats are all-but impossible, if you are not one of the very best in the business.
People with a true understanding of the game only pay attention to long-term trends; in the short-term, anything can happen. (And lately, just about everything has happened.)
Do managers pass their sell-by date? Of course.
However, it doesn't happen within months of leading a club to its best league season in almost two decades. And in normally needs something dramatic to precipitate it, usually a personal crisis.
In 2006, several leading 'experts' on Manchester United felt that after three fallow years, Ferguson had 'lost it'. Alas for us, their board didn't agree. Damn them, too, for not sacking him after a pretty horrendous first four years in charge.
One rather eager emailer (oh how they appear to relish the Reds struggles) pointed out to me that this is Liverpool's worst run of results in 22 years. I felt obliged to reply that 22 years ago, Liverpool were rightly regarded as the best team in the land. So it was clear: bad things even happened to them.
In other words, he was actually proving my argument for me.
It could be argued that as Graeme Souness didn't have a run of games as bad as this, things were better; but overall, out of every 10Liverpool games he managed, Liverpool won approximately four, compared with Benítez's six (and the six of Dalglish and Paisley).
So short term trends and stats are one thing; the bigger picture is what counts.
Liverpool having an incredibly successful season (by modern standards), is far more revealing than a short-term regression. The problem is in not acknowledging last season for what it was, because of what happened decades ago; it's easy to say that second isn't good enough, but between 1991 and 2004, second would have been lovely.
(Also, it's funny how every criticism seems to centre on the number of games Liverpool have lost last season compared with this, when at the time, few people were praising that fact; instead they were saying that the Reds were drawing too many games. As I write, there's not been one single draw this season. Two or three draws, and there'd be no 'crisis')
What really disappoints me is ex-players making the kind of unhelpful comments in the media that they themselves detested when they were playing. I've read numerous comments from years ago when the very same players, now making a living being critical, spoke of their strong dislike for such types. Hypocrisy is lovely when it pays well.
Another point: league tables do in fact lie. Until game 38, when you've played everyone home and away, they are distorted by the quirks of the fixture list.
It is only the long-term picture - the whole season, or collections of seasons - that give a true picture. That's why, come April, the cream has usually risen to the top four.
Every season at this time this year there is a panic about one team or other. In the past, it's been Liverpool; last season it was Arsenal.
Arsenal are back on track now, but last year there were calls for Arsene Wenger's departure from numerous fans. (Less so the media, many of its members admitting a fondness for him that skews their fairness.)
Arsenal lost at home to some really average sides (something Liverpool have yet to do), and had a run where, out of 22 games, they won only eight.
Should Wenger, without a trophy dating back to a season before Liverpool's last, and with less league points on average than Benítez over the past four seasons, have been sacked? At the time I said No, that would be ludicrous. Because top managers can have temporary struggles. And they have to be viewed in context.
Is Wenger no longer matching his early feats because he's 'lost it', or because the landscape has changed? After all, managers usually get better with experience. So maybe it's the landscape?
(By the way, as I write, Manchester City's form over the last seven league games is worse than Liverpool's; yet I've not heard much talk of crisis there, despite £100m+ spent this summer, a £250m squad and a massive wage bill.)
What interests me is just how bad the form of very best Liverpool players and managers could sink. We all know how good they could be, but did we also forget how bad they could (temporarily) be?
With this in mind, I asked members of my site, The Tomkins Times, to suggest some of the spells their heroes had that, unfortunately, the men in question would rather were forgotten.
For instance, Kenny Dalglish, the undisputed King of Liverpool FC: a goalscorer and goal creator whose vision and finishing were a joy to behold. A bona fide genius.
Yet, in his absolute pomp, he went a mind-boggling 25 league games without a goal! (From 22 November 1980 until 17 October 1981; courtesy of Graeme Riley, author of the 'Soccerdata' statistics annuals.)
Was he therefore not good enough?
Then there's Fernando Torres' failure to score at Anfield last season until February, which was partly down to injury, but even so, a real quirk given that he has something like 34 goals in 35 appearances on the ground.
If we look only at that run - up to his 9th home game - we can say that he is not good in front of the home crowd, that the packed defences stifle him; look at his entire time at Liverpool, and the exact opposite is undeniably true. That's why the bigger picture is always the most important.
In the season before Liverpool won the league for the first time under Bill Shankly, the Reds had a spell of one win in nine league games. Bob Paisley had two runs of no win in seven games, and Joe Fagan had one such streak. Obviously none of these men were sacked. It would have been unthinkable.
Indeed, Shankly, having won two championships and the FA Cup in three seasons, then went seven years without winning a single trophy. Do we wish he was sacked in that time? Of course not. Times have changed, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's easier, particularly since the arrival of Abramovich in 2003.
Another post on my site, by Neil Dunkin, author of the excellent Anfield of Dreams, mentioned the 1985-86 campaign:
"The League seemed a lost cause, especially when Manchester United were 10 points ahead of the pack. But Everton overtook United to top the table, inflicting a 2-0 defeat on our lads at Anfield in March 1986.
"That night Hansen went to dinner with Dalglish and told him it was the worst Reds' team he'd played in. Eight weeks later, the worst Reds' team had taken maximum points from 11 of their last 12 League games and done the League and Cup double."
However, just as an individual player can struggle if not 100 per cent, then it stands to reason that a side missing six or seven first team players, as well as some of their understudies, will be no different from a player carrying a knock. That's not an excuse, that's a fact of football life.
Ferguson had that problem a few years ago when Paul Scholes, in his prime, missed the season; he cited it as a reason for their failure. Chelsea have struggled when missing John Terry, or last season, when lacking Didier Drogba and Michael Essien. A squad can never be limitless in its depth and quality; even the uber-squads we're now seeing.
So, class is permanent.
Alas, so is the criticism from people whose own achievements in the field are not even comparable. Or maybe I missed Tony Cascarino and Stan Collymore's coruscating careers in coaching and management?