Liverpool will be unnerved by the news that they will be seeded in pot three of next season’s Champions League draw.
Due to their lack of involvement in Europe in recent years, Liverpool “will almost certainly be drawn in a group with one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Benfica in what will be their first Champions League campaign since 2010,” as per Ben Rumsby of The Telegraph.
Those big names of European football, which include the current European champions, this year’s two finalists and the champions of Spain and Portugal, would be enough to strike fear into the hearts of any opponent.
But Liverpool will go into a game against any top European side next season relishing every minute of it. After all, that’s what makes the Champions League so appealing.
If Liverpool have fallen off the European football map in recent years, here is their chance to land firmly back on it by savouring a tie against the big names of the tournament.
After the way Liverpool brushed off three of England’s four Champions League contingent during 2013-14, disposing of Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United with their relentless style of attacking football, the Reds can be forgiven for going in head-first to UEFA’s elite competition with a swagger of confidence.
There are the narratives of individuals to be played out, too.
Brendan Rodgers will lead a side into the Champions League for the first time, set to show Europe his footballing philosophies at achievements at Anfield just two years after joining.
After making his desire to be playing Champions League football very clear during last summer’s transfer saga, Luis Suarez now takes his dream to the next level, and his credentials of being compared to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi will be tested as he comes up against Europe’s top defenders.
Steven Gerrard’s story swings to the continent yet again, 10 seasons after lifting the European Cup so triumphantly.
Though a very different Liverpool now, the players will be encouraged to take education from the cavalier runs to the 2005 and 2007 finals. The way Rafa Benitez’s sides swept past the likes of Olympiakos, Barcelona and Juventus en route to Istanbul and Athens.
Above all, the big teams coming to Anfield next season make for glorious scenes amongst the fans.
The beautiful sight of a sea of red on the Kop on European nights and the emotional renditions of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” echoing around Europe’s finest stadia. The journey back into the Champions League is as much about the fans as it is the team.
If 2013-14 taught football anything, then Liverpool are having a party. That party goes continental next season, and everyone connected with the club can’t wait.