COLUMN: Liverpool and Man City leading English resurgence in Europe
Not so long ago the prospects of an English club winning the Champions League or Europa League seemed some way off.
There have been just two English winners of the Champions League in the past decade.
And in fact, the past three winners of the competition from these shores (Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool) all won on penalties showing what fine margins our clubs have sealed victory by.
In the Europa League (previously the UEFA Cup) we fare even worse, with just one victory in the past 14 seasons.
For some time the clubs from England have failed to punch their weight on the grandest stage.
Yes, we all remember fondly United’s historic, late win over Bayern Munich.
But that was 17 years ago.
And who can forget the superb Liverpool win over AC Milan 11 years ago?
In fact that victory, when the Reds were 3-0 down at half-time before coming back to win the trophy on penalties, was cited by current Reds’ chief Jurgen Klopp during their Europa League quarter-final win over Dortmund.
“I reminded the players about Liverpool being 3-0 down in the Champions League final,” said Klopp.
“It was brilliant, outstanding, emotional.”
The comeback win against his former side ensured Klopp’s troops are now within two games of an unlikely final appearance.
But performances like this are too few and far between.
Not since 1983-84 have two English clubs won the respective competitions; Liverpool and Tottenham overcoming Roma and Anderlecht on penalties respectively.
But this season represents a great opportunity for Liverpool and Manchester City to replicate that feat.
City rode their luck before killing off fellow moneybags side PSG to reach their maiden Champions League semi-final.
But their reward is now a mouth-watering last-four showdown with Real Madrid.
If Liverpool and City can reach the finals then it would represent a huge achievement by both, especially given their poor showings domestically.
And if both sides go on and win the competitions, then we could face the prospect of five English clubs in the Champions League next season.
Throw in the inclusion of surprise package Leicester and suddenly English prospects in Europe are looking extremely rosy again.
Something that we haven’t been able to say for some time.