When the Aviva Stadium was awarded hosting rights for the 2024 Europa League final back in July 2021, it was impossible to predict which teams could end up figuring in that showpiece event.
The countdown is now very much on, though, to the biggest of continental parties in Dublin and the list of potential finalists has been trimmed to a select group of 32 clubs.
There is no home representation, with League of Ireland Premier Division champions Shamrock Rovers coming up short against Ferencvaros in the second qualifying round, but there are plenty of big hitters still in the mix.
Among those sit Dutch giants Ajax, Jose Mourinho’s Roma and a certain Premier League outfit from Merseyside. The latest bet on sports odds have Liverpool priced at 10/3 to go all the way and savour ultimate glory.
Anybody fancying the Reds to replicate their success from 2001, potentially with Mohamed Salah claiming top scorer honours, can use a bet calculator to pool their picks and discover potential returns on any outright selections, each-way bets or accumulators.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be able to call upon the support of many as they seek to navigate their way down a long and winding road that snakes its way towards the Irish capital.
The man calling the shots at Anfield has his sights set on reaching the very end of that path, with Klopp having said: “We want to go as far as possible. I would love to go to the final, obviously, but I have no clue if we can reach that because there will be a lot of fantastic football teams in between us and that target, so we have to make sure we perform.”
Liverpool were Champions League winners as recently as 2019 and have not stepped foot outside of elite European competition since 2015-16. They are accustomed to rubbing shoulders with the very best in the business.
They could, however, only muster a fifth-place finish last season and are having to make do with Thursday night football in the current campaign.
While that is not the ideal situation for a club of their ambition and stature, it is one that may play into the hands of a passionate fan base that sits on the other side of the Irish Sea.
Liverpool are reported to be the best supported club in Ireland, edging out arch-rivals Manchester United, and will have plenty of eyes on them as they endeavour to make the best of the hand they have been dealt in 2023-24.
It would come as a major surprise were the Reds not to make the latter stages of the Europa League, given the talent at their disposal, and every step that they take towards major silverware will be cheered well beyond the famous corridors of Anfield.
Ireland could not have dreamed of seeing Liverpool book tickets to the Aviva Stadium when UEFA gave them the Europa League final nod – with their rich history in the Champions League suggesting that they would be otherwise engaged.
There is, however, now the very realistic prospect that a dream party could be organised in Dublin on May 22, 2024 if the luck of the Irish can smile on Klopp and his star-studded squad.