Almost empty and eerily silent, the stadium was shutting down. Doors were being locked and lights switched off when the security man said "good night" as he ushered a late straggler out of the Milburn Stand's main reception.
"Or perhaps we'd better just make that 'night'," he added. "Nothing good about it." Liverpool fans and neutrals thrilled by Philippe Coutinho's midfield brilliance might have disagreed but for anyone connected with Newcastle United, the club's heaviest home defeat in 87 years hurt.
Even worse, it leaves Alan Pardew's largely Francophone side dizzily contemplating the vertiginous drop into the Championship. Five points clear of the relegation zone, they are probably only one win from safety but have conceded nine goals against Sunderland and Liverpool in their past two games at St James' Park.
Amid much knee-jerk, social media fuelled, outrage it is important to introduce a bit of context. After all, only last month Guus Hiddink – who knows a thing or two about English football – praised Pardew's tactics to the skies and predicted that Newcastle "are so strong they must be in the Premier League's top five next season" after his Anzhi Makhachkala ensemble were knocked out of the Europa League by the Tynesiders.
Little did Hiddink know that Pardew's players were about to hit a wall. When Yohan Cabaye fell to the floor at Saturday's final whistle it seemed emblematic of Newcastle's woes. The influential France midfielder is a brainy footballer capable of brilliance but he barely got a touch against Liverpool and looks burnt out.
Exhausted by both the Europa League and a raft of injuries, too many of Pardew's players are running on empty. Others, meanwhile, have switched off and mentally decamped to warm beaches. Alarmingly, experienced hands such as Cheick Tioté and Jonas Gutiérrez are neglecting too many basics and suffering for it. Badly.
Tioté should be made to study DVDs of the way Lucas and Steven Gerrard controlled central midfield. These problems are exacerbated by the presence of five January imports from France's Ligue 1 who, while technically accomplished, look to have suddenly been hit by extreme culture shock.
It does not help that several still require a translator to communicate with Pardew. Yet despite English no longer being the dominant training-ground language, a manager who would be well advised to learn French fast believes the high-intensity nature of the Premier League represents the principal stumbling block to survival.
"I don't think the language barrier is so much of a problem as the lack of experience in certain scenarios," said Pardew, whose team visit West Ham and QPR before their final game at home to Arsenal. "A lot of those players will never have been beaten 3-0 at home, never mind 6-0. I think that showed; we became ragged, some of our play was naive and disorganised."
So much so that some Newcastle fans are demanding the shredding of his eight-year contract. "Well that's out of my hands," said Newcastle's commendably measured manager. "Until I'm told otherwise, my job is to lift the team and make it as good as I can."
Inevitably he was asked if he expects to stave off the sack. "Yes," said the 2012 LMA manager of the year, who remains a talented, extremely hard working coach. "I hope so. I've got to make sure I put things right. We've got to show we've got the fight for this because I think a lot of people will look at us and think we've got a great chance of being relegated. We've got to prove them wrong but I genuinely believe we've got enough quality to get the points we need."
He must cope without Mathieu Debuchy at West Ham after the France right-back – who had a shocking game – was sent off for a second bookable offence; an awful challenge on Coutinho. From the ensuing free-kick Jordan Henderson – extremely impressive throughout and a great advert for Brendan Rodgers's coaching – scored Liverpool's sixth.
Immediately Steven Taylor – who had the misfortune to experience one of his worst days in a Newcastle shirt under the watching gaze of the England coach, Roy Hodgson – was summoned for a touchline tête à tête with Pardew.
Earlier Taylor – turned regularly by the excellent Daniel Sturridge, although, in mitigation, he was being asked to put out numerous fires started by his dreadful co-defenders – watched Daniel Agger head in the first goal after playing him onside. From then on it was a case of keeping count as Henderson made it two, then Sturridge scored a couple before the substitute Fabio Borini's first touch precipitated No5.
"I've got to channel my anger in the right way," said Pardew. "But if I don't get a response after this I'll be deeply disappointed."
Man of the match Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)