In case you hadn’t heard, Liverpool beat Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarter final last night.
An injury-time winner from Dejan Lovren saw the Reds through 5-4 on aggregate following a sensational turnaround after BvB led 4-2 with 33 minutes to play.
As a result, Jurgen Klopp’s side are now 8/5 favourites to win the Europa League, though with a semi-final against Villarreal to come and one of Shakhtar Donestsk or Sevilla waiting in the showpiece should they get there, their path to glory remains littered with hazards.
It’s not just the calibre of opponents Liverpool must be wary of, but the curse of the quarter final comeback king also weighs heavy on their aspirations for success.
The Europa League’s original death defiers, Boro not once, but twice overturned 3-0 aggregate deficits en route to the competition’s final, first beating Basel in the last eight then Steaua Bucharest.
Unfortunately, Boro ran smack into Sevilla in the showpiece, where a 4-0 pounding was promptly doled out.
The affliction spans both continental competitions it seems, with La Coruna’s finest falling victim in the Champions League.
After losing 4-1 in the San Siro, Depor reversed their tie with Milan at the Riazor, where they won 4-0.
Their elation was duly extinguished in the semi-finals where their eye-catching attacking ethos was ground down by the substance-over-style Porto team managed by Jose Mourinho, to whom they lost 1-0 over two legs.
Borussia Dortmund 2012/13
Die Schwarzgelben know all about what happens to European comeback specialists, having lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich after dicing with peril against Malaga in the quarters.
A pair of stoppage-time strikes was required to avert disaster against the Spanish minnows, who led 2-1 going into the closing seconds.
Valencia 2011/12 & 2013/14
A 4-0 second-leg Mestalla success allowed Los Che to overcome AZ Alkmaar in the 11/12 edition of the competition after the Eredivisie outfit won 2-1 in the Netherlands. However, they lost by the same 5-2 aggregate score to eventual winners Atletico Madrid in the semis.
Two seasons later a similar scenario occurred; Valencia lost 3-0 away to Basel, before thumping the Swiss 5-0 at home to advance to the last four, where they lost to Sevilla, who also lifted the cup.
The most fitting of the myriad examples, the Reds trailed Benfica 2-1 at the midway point of their Europa League quarter final tie then rallied to claim a 5-3 aggregate win.
In keeping with a recurring theme, Spanish opposition, once again in the shape of Atletico, proved insurmountable in the semi-final.
Based on this heap of case studies, backing Villarreal to win the Europa League must be worth a wager at 15/4.