After completing a clean sweep of domestic trophies last season, Manchester City opened the new campaign by lifting the Community Shield following a shootout victory over Liverpool yesterday.
City netted all five penalties, the last by Gabriel Jesus, and back-up keeper Claudio Bravo made a key save on his first appearance in a year to deny Georginio Wijnaldum's attempt in a 5-4 shootout win after the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season ended 1-1 at fulltime.
"It was a good test for both teams," City manager Pep Guardiola said. "It's nice for the players to realise what they will face this season. At this level, the difference is nothing."
On the field, perhaps. Not in terms of trophy hauls in recent years.
City opened last season by lifting the Shield and went on to win the FA Cup, League Cup and Premier League — edging Liverpool to England's top title by a single point.
Liverpool, who won the Champions League a sixth time last season, won only one of seven pre-season games before losing at Wembley yesterday.
Raheem Sterling took 12 minutes to pick up where he left off for City at Wembley in May when he completed a 5-0 victory over Watford in the FA Cup final.
Kevin De Bruyne nodded across to David Silva, who flicked the ball on for Sterling to turn in from close range. It was Sterling's first goal against the club he left four years ago and he didn't hold back in celebrating in front of the Liverpool fans closest to the goal.
Liverpool were not only exposed in defence but wasteful up front and twice denied by the goal frame after the break when Virgil van Dijk hit the bar and Mohamed Salah struck the post.
But Bravo was beaten in the 77th minute when two Liverpool defenders combined.
Van Dijk brought down Jordan Henderson's free kick and volleyed across to Joel Matip, who headed low into the net.
Liverpool were denied a winner in regulation time when Salah's header beat Bravo but fullback Kyle Walker scrambled back to clear off the line.
"It was a really powerful performance," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. "Both teams had a similar pre-season, travelling so much, you don't really know where you are, it's just so intense with all the trips.
"In the second half, we were in charge and full of desire. We didn't do it, but at least we got the equaliser, so it's how it is. Penalties, a bit of luck is involved and one goalkeeper's save decides it, but I can't be disappointed."
For a game focused on raising money for good causes, there was a significant amount of ill feeling at Wembley.
The club anthems were booed by opposing fans, then the national anthem — God Save The Queen — was jeered by Liverpool supporters.
During the game, Guardiola was incensed when Joe Gomez launched a high challenge on David Silva — demonstrating the action with his own right foot.
Continuing to remonstrate on the field, delaying the resumption of the game, Guardiola was shown a yellow card as referee Martin Atkinson applied the new law.