In today's draw for the Europa League quarter-finals, there was only one conclusion to make after the third of four games were drawn -- Liverpool will face Borussia Dortmund next month. Jürgen Klopp will make an emotional return to the side he managed for seven years, only ending his association with the club last summer. That he will face BVB next month with Liverpool -- less than a year after saying goodbye -- illustrates how football constantly produces unexpected stories in such a short space of time.
First Klopp got to return to Germany with Liverpool against FC Augsburg in the round of 32, then Liverpool faced Manchester United for the first time in European competition in the last 16, and now a compelling reunion in the quarter-finals. There will be so much to unpack over the coming days and weeks, but Liverpool's manager told the official site of his delight at facing a club that he clearly holds close to his heart.
I am really happy with the draw. Yesterday I said why should I wish [to get] the strongest team in the tournament, but obviously if you want to win the Europa League, and when you are in the quarter-final, then you have to beat the strongest teams. It is better to play against them in two games than in only one game. I am really happy to introduce my new team to Dortmund. I am really happy to show the boys this wonderful stadium and a great city. It's a story only football can write. We're all happy. During the draw we had our video analysis meeting for Southampton and after that we were immediately training, so maybe my cell phone is full of messages - I need to have a look on there!
Klopp went on to talk about how huge the occasion would be considering the size of the two teams and shared his discomfort with being the centre of attention. What's particularly revealing is his policy of not hanging around his former clubs too much to be a distraction, emphasising his down to earth attitude and consideration for the need to move on without him. His thoughts were illuminating as always with his customary serving of straight talking.
Liverpool will be facing what Klopp described as "a really strong opponent" next month, a side that is deservedly recognised as the best team left in the competition. Could any Premier League team be considered as superior to Thomas Tuchel's? Probably not. That underlines the size of the task, but it should be one the player and management look forward to.
Don't forget, as Klopp pointed out after the draw, that Liverpool have produced their best against the best in his short time at the club. Next month will be another opportunity to test this in what should be a wonderful, thrilling, and atmospheric European tie.