Liverpool succumbed to a 3-1 defeat by Manchester United in the International Champions Cup final in Miami as their memorable tour of the United States drew to a close on Monday evening.
A typically precise penalty by Steven Gerrard had earned Brendan Rodgers' side a half-time lead to protect, but quick-fire Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata strikes, plus a late Jesse Lingard goal, turned the score around in the opponents' favour.
After slightly more than a fortnight in America, the Reds now depart for Merseyside and one more pre-season fixture - at home to Borussia Dortmund - before the Barclays Premier League campaign begins.
Meetings between Liverpool and United need little build-up, though a potent mix of inspirational music and the kaleidoscope of colours created by booming fireworks ratcheted up the pre-match tension at the Sun Life Stadium.
As both sides tried to settle into a rhythm after kick-off, the long leg and well-timed challenge of Mamadou Sakho was crucial in thwarting Mata as the Spaniard sought to capitalise on Javier Hernandez's skewed finish at the back post.
The latter was immediately involved at the other end, poorly directing a headed clearance from Gerrard's smart, chipped set-piece into the run of Jordan Henderson, who failed to adequately climb over the ball and nodded over.
On 13 minutes, though, the Reds had a breakthrough. Raheem Sterling scampered onto an incisive Glen Johnson pass inside the left channel and hit the ground under a challenge from defender Phil Jones - prompting the referee to point to the spot.
Up stepped Gerrard - as he did on three separate occasions when these long-standing foes last met, at Old Trafford in March - to calmly side-foot into the corner, leaving David De Gea with no chance to attempt a save.
Philippe Coutinho provided the latest example of his sensational footwork to work freedom for a shot from the edge of the area midway through the period, only for the United goalkeeper to fling left and punch out the vicious drive.
Twisting and turning with characteristic speed, Sterling tumbled in Red Devils territory again 10 minutes before the break, this time under pressure from midfielder Ander Herrera, but there was nothing given by the officials.
Martin Kelly showed similar fleet of foot as the interval rapidly approached, rolling around a slow tackle and advancing to within 20 yards of the target. But his eventual blast was pulled wide to the left of De Gea's domain and it remained 1-0 at half-time.
Liverpool could have extended their advantage twice within moments of the restart; firstly, Rickie Lambert shot straight at De Gea from a promising position, then Sterling dispatched off target via a deflection after a precise Coutinho through ball.
And then United struck back twice in quick succession to wrestle control. Hernandez summoned a swerving cross from the right flank that married perfectly with Rooney's surge to the back post and the England international expertly volleyed into the far corner.
Two minutes later, with 57 on the clock, Mata collected a delivery from Luke Shaw in a central area and instantly unleashed a left-footer that Simon Mignolet would have dealt with but for a deflection off Sakho that spun the ball beyond the 'keeper.
Confusion reigned with three-quarters of the match played, as a looping cross-shot from the right by Ashley Young looped high and onto the back of the net before bouncing out for Rooney to tap home. Initially seeming to signal a goal, the referee ultimately - and correctly - decided it was a goal-kick.
Despite their best exertions, Rodgers' charges could not produce a much-wanted equaliser - and Lingard fired home in the closing minutes, meaning the Reds' otherwise hugely successful journey to the USA ends without the icing of a tournament victory.