Burnley came to contain and concentrated on that task even after they went behind to Stan Collymore's 11th-minute strike. As an exercise in damage limitation, it worked, but it was hard to see the point.
Better surely to have come to the Premiership leaders to have a go - as they at least tried to do in the last 10 minutes - than to have played for the apparent respectability of a 1-0 defeat. Apart from one effort from Paul Barnes that went harmlessly over the bar, Burnley did not have a shot worthy of the name.
The other Barnes, Liverpool's John, wore not only his customary woolly gloves but also the look of extreme discomfort he reserves for really cold weather. He was put out of his personal misery when he was replaced, having suffered a tweaked hamstring after 66 minutes, but if anyone had an excuse for being frozen and forlorn it was David James, who had nothing to do throughout the match.
Burnley's ex-Evertonian manager, Adrian Heath, is clearly no FA Cup romantic. "I was pleased with the performance. The lads have done us proud. They have worked really hard and they stuck to the game plan," he said.
"You have to appreciate that the gulf between the two sides is massive. I've seen Middlesbrough come here, go for it early and get beaten by five. If we had come here to play expansive football, I don't think it would have been 1-0."
The collective enthusiasm of a Burnley side that included five players aged 21 or under, allied to a couple of exceptional saves by Marlon Beresford, kept the score down.
The only time Liverpool broke them down was early enough to suggest a romp that never came. Patrik Berger, back in the side for the injured Robbie Fowler, sent Stig Inge Bjornebye away. His cross was ushered through by Steve McManaman - well shackled for most of the afternoon by the young Chris Brass - and Collymore fired home.
"We should have had more than that," said Roy Evans, as he reflected on moving one step closer to wiping out last season's Cup final disappointment. "It was a tough old game, but we made it hard for ourselves at times."Reuse content