Liverpool’s phenomenal European success has been well documented over the years, with the Reds lifting the coveted prize all the back in 1977, ’78, ’81 and ’84, before once again raising the trophy aloft for a historic fifth time on that magical evening in Istanbul in 2005.
And while the red half of Merseyside can boast of their tremendous achievements, particularly to their blue counterparts, the many years since that Wednesday night in Turkey have been hugely underwhelming to say the least.
The Anfield trophy cabinet shimmers brightly with silverware, especially in comparison to a great deal of the clubs they have competed with this campaign, both in domestic competition and abroad. Yet with the dominance of Manchester City in the Premier League, coupled with shortcomings against West Brom and Leicester City in the FA Cup and League Cup respectively, the Champions League stands isolated as the sole competition Jurgen Klopp and his side can fight for this season.
Several years without Champions League football has certainly taken its toll on the Anfield faithful, who now stand on the verge of desperation after being deprived of any sort of success under the much-loved Klopp, not least the top prize in club football.
The enthusiastic German has come agonisingly close to the taste of glory on the European stage, having fallen at the final hurdle with his former side Borussia Dortmund at the hands of bitter Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley not so long ago, before once again falling short with current club Liverpool in a disappointing Europa League final loss against Spanish outfit Sevilla.
So much heartache over recent years can only have revitalised Klopp, who is now in search of a trophy that has eluded both himself and indeed Liverpool since their triumph over a formidable AC Milan side an incredible 13 years ago.
13 years. An unbearably long period of time in football, particularly for a club worthy of their glorified status in the global game, yet perhaps an even longer period of time for a truly remarkable and boisterous fanbase.
The loyal Liverpool followers have been more patient than most, and many are rightly enjoying a real sense of optimism ahead of the upcoming tie with Roma. The Italian side, having knocked out the sensational talents of Lionel Messi and co. at Barcelona in some style, will certainly be no pushovers, yet for the Reds to avoid European super giants Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the latter stages of this illustrious competition feels like a miracle to all associated with the club.
Perhaps it is simply meant to be, for both Klopp and his determined young squad, to go all the way and cause what would certainly be an upset considering the teams also in contention for the trophy.
Brushing English champions Manchester City aside in the previous round will ensure that any team travelling to Anfield will feel the heat under the lights, and if the Reds then make it to Kiev, it will come down to either personal revenge for Klopp against Bayern, or a chance for Mohamed Salah and his enthusiastic teammates to go down in history and put an end to Real Madrid’s dominance of the glittering world of European football.