As Liverpool prepare to begin the defence of their Champions League crown in Naples, they do so having formed one of the best squads - if not the best - in Europe.
But rewind 15 years to Reds’ previous European Cup success and you’d find a very different story.
The summer of 2004 saw plenty of upheaval and change as Gerard Houllier departed to be replaced by the somewhat unknown (on these shores at least) Rafael Benitez.
Not only was there change in the dugout, but to the playing staff too.
Michael Owen, Emile Heskey, Danny Murphy and Markus Babbel, all vital components to the cup treble team three years earlier, left for pastures new, to be replaced by the likes of Djibril Cisse, Luis Garcia, Xabi Alonso and Josemi.
It ended, of course, with Liverpool being crowned champions of Europe in Istanbul for the fifth time.
Fast-forward 15 years and Jurgen Klopp’s side will hopefully be back at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium on May 30, bidding to win number seven.
So to celebrate the anniversary of the never-to-be-forgotten triumph of 2005, we will be bringing you a special 13-part Blood Red podcast ahead of each Champions League matchday.
In part one, released today, Guy Clarke and Dan Kay chart how the context of Liverpool’s European history after the turn of the Millennium lay the groundwork for what was to follow.
The wins over Olympiakos, Juventus and Chelsea all now rightly sit in Anfield folklore given the significance each holds during the Reds’ route to the 2005 Champions League final, but when was Anfield re-awoken to recreate those halcyon European nights?
During the late 70s and into the early 80s Liverpool had conquered all before them, both domestically and in Europe, with the Spion Kop at the forefront of that.
But as Monaco came to Anfield for the opening group game of the 2004/05 European campaign, little more than 33,500 were inside the ground, almost 10,000 short of the stadium’s capacity.
But as Reds fan and journalist Dan Kay explains in the podcast, Anfield’s re-awakening through the early part of the decade more than played its part in Liverpool’s eventual success.
“I don’t think you can be a Liverpool supporter and appreciate the significance Europe has to us as a club,” said Dan.
“In many ways it defines how we see ourselves, and how we want others to see us but there was a long time without it.
“Really there was a whole generation that had missed out on European football, partly because of the ban sadly introduced after Heysel, and partly before Liverpool weren’t that good in the 90s.
You can listen to the podcast in full here:
“I think it was the UEFA Cup run in 2000/01 that really set the tone. I always think one of the great forgotten Anfield games is the game against Olympiakos four years before the famous 2004 one - almost four years to the day!
“We played them in the third round of the UEFA Cup in 2000/01, drew 2-2 over there which was a good result, and then beat them 2-0 at Anfield. This was the Liverpool team that ended up winning a treble of cup triumphs, UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup.
“There was this sense there was a bit of momentum building and I think the Olympiakos game set the template for that.”
Two-legged wins over Roma and Porto respectively set up a semi-final showdown with Barcelona (not for the last time).
“It was the semi-final against Barcelona that really set, for this generation, the template of the Anfield nights that were to follow,” said Dan.
“We drew 0-0 in the Nou Camp and then there was the second leg at Anfield which came only three days after a famous derby win at Goodison.
“It wasn’t a vintage Barcelona side, but they had Rivaldo, Pep Guardiola, Puyol at the back, a young Pepe Reina in goal.
“At the time, without question, it was my greatest night as Liverpudilan. We won 1-0 from a penalty converted by Gary McAllister after a daft handball by Patrick Kluivert just before half-time, but this was part of what you can really look at as a renaissance of Liverpool in Europe.
“Around the turn of the decade you really sense that Liverpool were starting to come again as a European force, even if there was sadly a drop off in Houllier’s final season.
“For Benitez it was simmering underneath the surface and all it really needed was a couple of good wins, as proved to be the case during the Autumn to really get that feeling up and running again.
“It was ignited pretty quickly again and rapidly the fires started to rage again in a good way.”