The last time Liverpool faced off against Borussia Dortmund, Jürgen Klopp was the manager on the other side, and both clubs were feeling confident following second place league finishes the previous season. Sure, it might just have been a pre-season friendly, but it was a friendly between two of Europe’s elite, both Champions League sides and high expectations for the coming campaign.
Few would have guessed, at that point, that both clubs would end the coming season disappointingly and in the Europa League places. Fewer would have guessed, either, that Liverpool would run away with a 4-0 win that was in the end a fair reflection of their dominant play. Pre-season friendly or not, it wasn’t a scoreline or performance anyone could honestly have said that they saw coming before kickoff.
The same is probably true today. Nobody much expects Liverpool to win the opening leg of their Europa League tie tonight at the Westfalenstadion. A good result if you asked most Reds fans would be for Liverpool to get an away goal and the overall deficit to no more than one. A great result would perhaps be a score draw that gave them a narrow advantage heading back to Anfield for next week’s game.
Still, as fans, there’s always that little voice wondering what if? What if Daniel Sturridge puts away an early chance? What if Philippe Coutinho has the game of his life? What if Simon Mignolet shows some of the confidence he arrived at the club with? What if, with the scorers from that last meeting—Sturridge, Lovren, Coutinho, and Henderson—still in the squad and likely to start, everything just clicks?