Robbie Keane and David Ngog both made their first Liverpool appearances as the Reds were held to a third successive pre-season draw by Villarreal in El Madrigal.
In a match organised as part of the deal which took Pepe Reina to Anfield three years ago, the Liverpool 'keeper had to be content with a place on the bench following the birth of his second child in the early hours - but he received a standing ovation from all corners of the ground when joining the action with ten minutes remaining.
Also receiving a heroes welcome back to first-team football were Reina's fellow Euro 2008 stars, with Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa all enjoying their first action since their success in the summer.
It was a game of debuts, and not just those of new strikers Robbie Keane, who during 45 minutes showed several glimpses of the class which persuaded Rafa Benitez to splash out earlier this week, and David Ngog, who also enjoyed bright first-half.
The match also provided a first outing for a new grey away kit; one which bears a striking similarity to the Candy-sponsored number worn the last time a league championship trophy made its way to Anfield in 1990.
If that is a good omen for the season ahead, so too were the performances of many of Benitez's fringe players. The likes of Diego Cavalieri, Stephen Darby and Damien Plessis all put in decent displays in what was another useful run out.
The game was preceded by a guard of honour for old boy Reina, who was granted a standing ovation from a near-capacity crowd as he carried Spain's Euro 2008 trophy onto the pitch.
Once play did get under way, the new incumbent of our famous number seven shirt waited just two minutes to issue a signal of intent with a cheeky flick towards the onrushing Andrea Dossena. Sadly the move broke down but it was exactly the kind of touch the travelling Kop had come to see.
Others were out to impress, too, like the imposing Plessis, who flighted a superb ball to Andriy Voronin down the right wing. The boy has clearly been spending time with Xabi Alonso.
Next, with 20 minutes gone, Plessis provided his teammates with a much-needed refreshment stop after inadvertently belting the ball into the face of home captain Javi Venta, who laid strewn across the perfect grass for some time.
Off went the Liverpool players towards Doc Waller and his water bottles, a temporary antidote to the scorching Mediterranean heat.
It seemed to do the trick, as well - for just seconds after play resumed, Keane took out two men with another delicate touch before Dossena burst down the right and won a corner.
All very nice, but the Reds had yet to threaten Diego Lopez's goal. The first effort of any substance didn't arrive until 27 minutes when Keane, fed by Yossi Benayoun, fired over from inside the D.
At the other end, Cavalieri, who displayed safe hands throughout, was forced to respond to a rasping shot cum cross which he did well to turn away.
The Brazilian was called into action once more on 32 minutes when former Arsenal playmaker Robert Pires wriggled his way into space in the box before testing the visiting goal with a low sidefoot.
It was turning into a sustained period of pressure for the side who finished second in La Liga last term. Next Llorente ghosted past the seemingly well-organised Reds backline before lobbing Cavalieri. Happily the linesman's flag was correctly raised.
Liverpool were starting to ride their luck. An opening goal seemed almost certain on 42 minutes when Ibagaza fired against the woodwork, with the ball landing invitingly to teammate Cani eight yards out. With the net gaping, the man in yellow was somehow denied by a magnificent block from the impressive Stephen Darby.
A brief moment of respite arrived late in the first half when Benayoun worked his way into space before teeing up Ngog inside the box. Just when it seemed the Frenchman was about to join our relatively short list of goalscoring debutants, Lopez pulled a fine low save out of the bag.
The personnel might have changed, with Benitez making nine changes at the break, but the second half began pretty much where the first ended: with Villarreal on the attack.
Substitutes Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger had to be at their very best to prevent a dangerous cross from Cani finding Llorente at the near post.
On too was Nemeth, another debutant, sporting shiny red boots. Sadly for him, many of the kind of chances he took with ease for the reserves last season were arriving at the wrong end.
Full-back Gonzalo should have scored following a goalmouth scramble only to be denied once again by Cavalieri, who this time used his legs to keep Liverpool's slate clean.
Finally, 20 minutes after the restart, the visitors began to get a foothold.
The turning point came when substitute Daniel Pacheco was found darting into acres of space down the left. It was two on two, with Jermaine Pennant sprinting forward to join the young Spaniard, who sadly took the wrong option by cutting inside and shooting harmlessly wide.
Nemeth then came close with a rasping effort. Unfortunately for him, it was his final contribution after being told to shake hands with Torres just 25 minutes into his senior bow. It was no reflection on the youngster's performance, just a case of simple maths, with Benitez having too many outfield players in need of a run out.
Then, after a Torres volley bounced harmlessly wide and a Alonso free-kick was saved well by Lopez, came the moment most who were present had been waiting for: the introduction of Reina, who was greeted by chants of 'Reeeeiiiina' as he made his way to the Liverpool goal with 10 minutes remaining.