A date with the final has coincided with a visit to Porto in the Champions League, will the third trip in five seasons make for a similar fortune for Liverpool?
For the fifth time in the space of just three years, Liverpool will meet Porto in the Champions League – this time in the group stages.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side sit atop of Group B after one game having collected all three points against AC Milan, whereas the Portuguese side banked one point against Atletico Madrid.
It sets up an interesting battle, 895 days after they last contested a European tie.
It was a different world
The word pandemic was read only in the past tense, empty stadiums a foreign concept and the first piece of silverware under Klopp a dream that felt well and truly in touching distance.
Those were the conditions as the Reds last travelled to Estadio da Dragao on April 17 2019, for the second leg of their quarter-final tie.
Liverpool arrived with a comfortable lead up their sleeve having scored two unanswered goals at Anfield two weeks prior, affording the manager the chance to make some changes.
But it was the key pillars who would strike on the scoresheet for an emphatic passage to the semi-final – meaning not everything has had to change.
It was the same margin as the preceding season when the two met in the last 16 of the competition.
Eight of the starters that night were in the XI at Brentford on Saturday, and another two were named on the bench.
The Reds did have to weather the storm before being able to flex their muscles, however, their quality shone and a marker was laid down.
Eder Militao would score the only goal for Porto, a consolation after Klopp’s side had already attained an unassailable 4-1 lead on aggregate and 2-1 on the night at the time of his strike.
The away end was bouncing as a place in the last four was secured for the second year running.
Which players still remain?
For Porto, meanwhile, they have experienced significant change with the likes of Iker Casillas, Alex Telles, Moussa Marega and Hector Herrer no longer at the club.
Familiar faces with similar ambitions, but they’re both different teams and the third instalment of this tie is set to present a new set of challenges.
What happened next?
Well, Reds will never forget what would follow in the semi-final and in the final.
A comeback for the ages saw Anfield witness the greatest ever night against Barcelona before Tottenham were toppled in Madrid as Ol’ Big Ears made its return to Liverpool after a 14-year wait.
Now, Liverpool have the same target in mind but this time it is in search of No. 7 – but could they go one better with a league and European Cup double?
Klopp and co. will rightly take it one taxing game at a time, but it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility and Porto have clearly been a kind omen.