There are few tougher stages to make your debut for a Premier League club than Anfield and a match against Liverpool away from home, a team believed to be the second-favourites to the title this season, behind Manchester City.
And no man will now know this more than new West Ham United right-back Ryan Fredericks, who joined on a free transfer during the summer, having helped Fulham gain promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.
The Tottenham Hotspur Academy product was thrown in at the deep end by Manuel Pellegrini as he managed the Hammers for the first time in the English top-flight, having spent most of pre-season playing second fiddle to veteran Pablo Zabaleta.
Fredericks started in his native right-back position within a back four that consisted of himself, fellow debutant Fabian Balbuena, long-serving centre-back Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku.
They supported a defensive midfield duo of youngster Declan Rice and club captain Mark Noble, in front of them, an attacking three of new boys Felipe Anderson and Jack Wilshere and Michail Antonio, while Marko Arnautovic was the lone striker.
On paper, the 25-year-old never had an easy task against a Reds attack believed to be one of the best in the world, his role was to keep none other than dangerous roaming left-back Andy Robertson, new signing in midfield Naby Keita and electric forward Sadio Mane quiet.
The fact that the Senegalese Mane managed to bag himself two goals, and probably should have got plenty more than that, shows you on its own that Fredericks didn’t have the best of afternoons, but it far from told the story.
Despite a couple of positive runs and moments in the final third, the man dubbed “the Championship’s best full-back last season,” looked way out of his depth amongst the pace and physicality of the PL.
He and the travelling Irons’ defenders were pinned back against a solid brick wall right from the get-go on Merseyside, their desperate efforts to play a high line and catch their opponents offside failing more often than not.
The former England youth International’s big bow took a turn for the worse when Jurgen Klopp’s men raced into a relatively early lead on 19 minutes, with fingers very much pointed to him.
As the hosts broke away on a devastating counter-attack, Fredericks seemed to lose all sense of position, getting distracted by the inwards run of Mane when he was now the responsibility of the central defenders.
This left a gaping gap on the left flank and the left side of the box which Robertson soon occupied, Keita picked him out and Fredricks was stranded, meaning the Scot only had to roll the ball across the face of goal for Mohamed Salah to tap in and open his account for the season.
While few could argue that the breaking of the deadlock wasn’t coming, had it not been for the Englishman’s error, things could have been very different at Anfield.
On the stroke of half-time, Fredericks’ flank would be exposed once more as Liverpool struck a devastating blow, the ex-Fulham star had allowed Robertson to get a looping cross into the box.
On the end of it was Milner, beating the offside trap to lay the ball back into the path of Mane to strike home and double the lead.
Many were expecting Fredericks to be hauled off at half-time for the more experienced Zabaleta, a man who probably should have started ahead of him, instead, Declan Rice was sacrificed for Robert Snodgrass.
If Fredericks hadn’t been the main scapegoat for the Champions League finalist’s second, there was no hiding from the blame when they tripled their lead just after the break.
Milner switched the ball to Roberto Firmino in the Hammers’ half and as he surged towards the box, the Cockney went out to apprehend him, although Balbuena was already on the case.
Fredricks’ movement allowed Mane to wriggle free of his marking and find space in the area, space in which Firmino could pick him out and the African could swivel and finish past Lukasz Fabianski, also on debut for the East Londoners.
Perhaps lady luck wasn’t smiling on Fredericks in this instance as replays showed that Mane was comfortably offside but the linesman had failed to raise his flag, however, poor defending often isn’t rewarded with good luck.
Just when one thought that the former Spurs man’s outing couldn’t get any worse and the game was going to fizzle out into a 3-0 victory for the home side, lesser-spotted striker Daniel Sturridge was introduced by Klopp.
Seconds after his entrance, the Reds took a corner from the left and the full-back was charged with marking the ex-England forward.
When Snodgrass’ defensive header could only flick the ball on across the face of goal, Fredericks allowed the injury-plagued striker to get goalside of him and convert from point-blank range into a half-empty net.
Pundits and supporters weren’t hiding their feelings and opinions about the starlet’s performance post-match, there can be little doubting that he stood out for the wrong reasons in a poor overall performance.
But, in spite of this, Fredericks must be given time adapt to the Premier League and a solid run of matches to do so, starting with next Saturday’s first home game at London Stadium, the visit of AFC Bournemouth where redemption will be the aim for him and his teammates.