Graeme Souness promised an immediate recall for Ian Rush after dropping Liverpool's record goalscorer.
And it was of scant consolation to Souness that Rush's absence had little bearing on a defeat born of defensive catastrophe.
Neither was Souness appeased by emphatic evidence that Wednesday, after 12 unbeaten games, are finally emerging as a significant force. Their overall dominance deserved better than to be crowned by two own goals and a mad-cap moment from the otherwise inspired Bruce Grobbelaar.
The game itself, brimming with high-speed skill from both sides, also merited a more dignified gallery of goals.
But Souness said: "I didn't think it was possible for us to concede three goals like that in one match. We made things easy for Wednesday because of the way we defended. That's what upset me most."
Neil Ruddock deflected Nigel Worthington's awkward low cross past a helpless Grobbelaar in the 29th minute.
And after Robbie Fowler's 12th goal in as many games, Ruddock's centre-back partner Mark Wright caught the disease. He stretched out a foot to a Waddle cross arrowed towards Mark Bright, and slid the ball into his own net.
Barnes clipped the bar, and Wednesday's Graham Hyde almost followed Liverpool's lead when he hit his own post with a back header.
All reasons why Wednesday boss, Trevor Francis said: "Although we deserved to win, there were times when we were a bit fortunate."
If Francis was grateful for Rush's absence after four games without a goal, he wasn't saying, but he admitted: "I was surprised Rush wasn't playing."
Souness, who restricted Rush to 22 minutes as substitute, explained: "Ian was jaded and needed a rest. This was done to get the best out of him, and he will play against QPR."
Rush, who was dropped for the first time in his Liverpool career at the same ground ten months ago, said: "There must be something about this place. I expected to play, and naturally I'm disappointed."
Rush, told of his axing by Souness in the team's hotel, added: "He has his own thoughts and ideas ..."
Bright sealed Wednesday's fourth successive win when he punished Grobbelaar's ill-judged charge from his area.
The goal will have been of most relief to co-striker Nigel Jemson, who "could have had a first half hat-trick," according to his manager.
Francis added: "It's always pleasing to beat Liverpool, because they still have something special about them."
"The satisfying thing for me is that for the whole 90 minutes I always felt we could score goals."
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