The scoreline and performance were considerably better but sadly for Steve Bruce the outcome still the same as his Birmingham City team were dumped out of knockout competition by Liverpool.
While it would have been difficult not to have improved on the 7-0 FA Cup quarter-final thrashing the same opponents administered last March, the manner in which his troops acquitted themselves last night will have pleased the Birmingham manager no end.
Out of the Carling Cup they may be but their efforts against a team containing half-a-dozen internationals suggested their ambitions to regain their top-flight status are far from fanciful.
In the end they were undone by a Dan Agger goal - his second of the season - from a Jermaine Pennant corner at the end of the first half but they will reflect that they had their own chances to at least invoke extra time.
It says much about the majority of that first half that the most noteworthy moment came once the scheduled time had elapsed as the fourth official signalled seven added minutes.
The world would not have been a poorer place had that been the sum total of the opening period. It was just sad that Momo Sissoko had to suffer what looked like a serious injury in the process.
That was midway through when Birmingham were probably the better of the two teams, particularly when they attacked Stephen Warnock in Liverpool's left back berth.
Sebastian Larsson did exactly that in the fourth minute when he skated around the Liverpudlian as though he were a statue and picked out DJ Campbell on the edge of the area. The latter's shot was smothered before if caused Jerzy Dudek too much trouble in the visitors' goal.
Elusive striker Campbell was at the heart of things again a minute later when he deftly flicked on Mat Sadler's ball forward into the path of Cameron Jerome.
Jerome managed to lift the ball into the box where Julian Gray latched on to it but lashed it wildly high. It was a moment that required considerably more precision than the lackadaisical winger mustered all night.
Sissoko's dislocated shoulder apart, little else happened until two minutes before the break when Liverpool half cleared a corner, only for Larsson to collect and slide through to Martin Taylor.
The centre half had the freedom of the penalty area and did well to angle a drive towards goal which Campbell toed on. Having been uninvolved for the best part of three-quarters of an hour, Dudek did well to block.
That prompted Mr Kettle to add on a significant seven minutes and what a decision it was too.
Taylor was spared embarrassment by the assistant referee having been caught in possession by Craig Bellamy and then Jerome had Dudek scrambling when his cross drifted towards the near post and needed tipping behind.
Then, with 50 minutes showing, Pennant swung a corner to Agger. The Dane was afforded a free header and although it was blocked he had sufficient time and space to lash the rebound into the net.
And with virtually the last action Campbell headed on again for Jerome and the 20-year-old looked to be overtaking Gabriel Paletta when he was blocked off in the penalty area. Referee Howard Webb paid no heed to the shrieks of protest.
He was, however, rather more sympathetic when the Premiership side produced an appeal 18 minutes into the second half.
By that stage they had established themselves as the dominant team and without creating anything clear cut they were beginning to pick at the seams of the City defence.
The eventually came undone when Mark Gonzalez raced down the left flank past Stephen Kelly and jagged towards goal whereupon he was assailed by Radhi Jaidi.
The defender was awarded a yellow card and Bellamy the chance to make certain of Liverpool's' place in the last eight. Instead he side-footed a feeble penalty straight at Maik Taylor.
St Andrew's erupted and when Gary McSheffrey and Nicolas Bendtner were put on up front with half an hour remaining Bruce's men immediately had more cutting edge.
They nearly made it pay too when, with 15 minutes to go, Gray was once more presented with a golden opportunity. Kelly did well to take possession from Gonzalez and Lars-son even better when he raced on an overlap and curled a deep cross to the back post.
All that was required was a decisive touch and Birmingham would have been level. It was not to be.