Liverpool play their first competitive game since the World Cup as they travel to Man City for a 4th Round League Cup tie.
The reds still have some players to return, or just returned for the World Cup, and Jurgen Klopp is likely to continue alongside the lines of playing a second XI in this competition.
Both teams perhaps have bigger challenges in the season ahead but tonight is a perfect opportunity for players to get back in some sort of form ahead of the busy post Christmas period.
In the event of a draw at full time there is no extra time to be played at this stage of the competition and it will head straight to a penalty shoot out.
Here's how the game unfolded.
As it happened...
Pepijn Lijnders, the reds assistant boss, took the pre-match press conference yesterday as is usual for League Cup games.
Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, Arthur Melo and Luis Diaz all remain unavailable for this game but Pep was looking at the positives of the players returning after their individual disappointment in the World Cup.
"They come back with a strong feeling, the ones who are already back, like Hendo, like Trent, like Ali, like Fabinho, you see they take a good energy, a good tempo with them, and confidence with them. So that’s important.
"We have one more session to go and today we will see how everybody is physically. The boys who came back earlier look really good but we know they had a long time off – like eight, nine days – which they need."
The reds beat Derby 3-2 on penalties in the last round after it ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.
The team that day was
Kelleher, Ramsay, Phillips, Gomez, Tsimikas, Bajcetic, Clark, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carvalho, Frauendorf, Stewart
We're expecting a similar line up tonight.
Liverpool have won 9 League Cup trophies (a record) and appeared in the most finals (13 - also a record). Man City, thanks to their six trophies in the last decade, have won this competition 8 times.
A win tonight would be the reds 150th victory in the League Cup competition.
Kostas Tsimikas, if involved, will make his 50th appearance for Liverpool.
If tonight's game goes to penalties, Kelleher could add further to the record he holds of his six saved penalties in shootouts.
Here's the reds line-up
Kelleher, Milner, Gomez, Matip, Robertson, Thiago, Bajcetic, Elliott, Carvalho, Salah, Nunez
Subs: Adrian, Fabinho, Keita, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tsimikas, Ramsay, Phillips, Doak
Here's how our opponents line up
Ortega Moreno, Lewis, Akanji, Laporte, Ake, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Gundogan (C), Mahrez, Haaland, Palmer
SUBS: Carson, Walker, Stones, Cancelo, Grealish, Gomez, Bernardo, Foden, Robertson
Teams are out on the pitch.
We are underway.
1' Barely a minute on the clock and both Haaland and Nunez have had chances to score. Haaland drills over, Nunez shot blocked.
7' And it falls to City. Haaland beats the offside trap, lays it off to Palmer who spoons that well WELL WELL wide.
No VAR tonight for this game.
1-0 to Man City. Erling Haaland.
City have started the brighter in this game and get their rewards with their third decent chance so far.
Carvalho with the initial giveaway - de Bruyne crosses and Haaland puts the ball in at the near post.
15' Nice few passes from the reds. Elliott with a great ball to Nunez who hits it at the post but was offside.
Salah yet to get going.
20' A marauding Matip run, great pass forward - Milner slides into the path of Fabio Carvalho who drills it in.
36' De Bruyne passes to Gundogan who is sprinting into the box - plays the shot in the direction away from Kelleher but the LFC keeper makes a great save with his trailing legs.
Bajcetic booked just prior to that.
Another big save from Kelleher. Great cross in from de Bruyne, Ake header low and Kelleher palms it out for a corner.
38' Milner down hurt. Takes off the captain's armband. On comes Nat Phillips to replace him.
42' Nunez chance for the reds but he drags it wide. Offside flag stayed down there.
43' Nat Phillips, who has come straight into centre-back, moving Gomez to right back produces a wonderful tackle to take the ball off Erling Haaland.
45+1' Robertson free kick, Nunez gets into position but hits the ball across the face. Should have scored.
Man City 1-1 Liverpool
A very enterprising game here for a League Cup 4th Round. Both have had chance to score more than 1. City edging it in terms of chances but it is level at the break.
Two changes at the break.
Fabinho replaces Bajcetic who collected a yellow card in the first half.
Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Carvalho.
47' Riyad Mahrez makes it 2-1. Thiago gifts it straight back to Gundogan in the middle of the pitch and three touches later its in the back of the Liverpool net.
48' Liverpool hit straight back!
Oxlade-Chamberlain with a wonderful ball forward - great pass by Nunez and Salah sticks it in.
57' Jordan Henderson replaces Harvey Elliott.
58' Short corner for City, de Bruyne cross again finds Nathan Ake who this time heads it past Kelleher.
3-2 to the home side.
62' Brave goalkeeping from Kelleher to save at the feet of a 50/50 with Haaland.
65' Henderson cross, Nunez heads it on but Robertson balloons that over the crossbar.
John Stones replaced Akanji a short time ago for Man City. Jack Grealish being readied to come on for the home team.
68' Liverpool appealing for a penalty after Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to have been tripped in the penalty area.
Ref waves it away and there's no VAR anyway here. Would have been a soft one but there was contact.
72' Nunez in plenty of space here, beats the offside trap but he drags that one terribly wide.
73' Haaland and Cole Palmer replaced by a new front line of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden.
78' Fabinho and Rodri both booked. Should be Rodri's second after he kicked out at Carvalho in the first half.
88' Gundogan replaced by Bernardo Silva.
It's looking like City are going to edge the reds out of this competition. Final two minutes now.
Of added time.
FT: Man City 3-2 Liverpool
An entertaining first game back for some mix and match teams from both sides. It ended with the home side going through. Both sides had chances to score more goals.
We expect more players back involved for the Boxing Day game against Aston Villa.
Three points imperative there as the reds begin the road back to getting that top four sorted.
Enjoy your Christmas!