Steve Bruce retains a "quiet satisfaction" that Liverpool are in the Uefa Champions' League final, for it means that Birmingham City cannot be too far away from fulfilling their own European ambitions.
In a season that has seen Liverpool come to within 90 minutes of winning the greatest club trophy in the world, Bruce will happily point out that his Birmingham team twice defeated the potential European champions.
Liverpool play AC Milan in the final tomorrow in the Atat?rk Stadium, Istanbul, and, despite a series of poor performances in the Premiership, find themselves on the brink of causing the surprise of the season.
Birmingham won 1-0 at Anfield in November thanks to a late goal by Darren Anderton and then won 2-0 at St Andrew's in February thanks to goals by Walter Pandiani and Julian Gray.
The victory at home was particularly significant because, in the eyes of many observers, it was the finest by a Birmingham team since the 5-1 victory against Manchester United in 1978.
Birmingham finished twelfth in the Premiership, ten points away from a place in the 2005-06 Uefa Cup. However, the team will only improve next season and are regarded as well-placed for a place in European competition.
Bruce said: "It is amazing that Liverpool are in the Uefa Champions' League final. Absolutely amazing. We beat Liverpool twice in the league and it proves that, on any given day, anybody can beat anybody.
"So, yes, it does give me a quiet satisfaction that Liverpool have reached the final and knowing that we did the double over them.
"But that is the Premier League. It is an honest league where everybody gives their best, even when there might be little to play for. Anybody can beat anybody in a way that is unique. It happens in all leagues but not to the extent that it does here in England.
"We were perhaps a little fortunate when we defeated Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season but we turned in one of our best displays since I arrived here to defeat them at home in the return match."
Jamie Carragher, the Liverpool defender, says that the team are not as good as that which won the Uefa Cup in the treble season of 2000-01.
Carragher, one of the best defenders in the world, will step out in the Ataturk Stadium believing that Liverpool still have a long way to go to be compared with Gerard Houllier's best Anfield side.
However, Carragher also maintains that the success of this term has been the biggest step forward the club have had since they were last in the European final, 20 years ago.
He said: "No disrespect to the squad we have got now, but it is obvious we are not as strong as we were when we won the Uefa Cup in 2001. We had a settled team and that season, when we went into games against Barcelona and Roma, we always felt we were as good as them."
Liverpool that season won the Uefa Cup in Dortmund against Al?ves as well as the FA Cup and League Cup.
Carragher said: "I think reaching the European final this season is the most significant step we have taken since the club last won the competition. Obviously we are not as good as those great sides in the past but, under the circumstances, this run to the final has been as big an achievement as it was all those years ago.
"We achieved our last good run in Europe three years into the previous manager's reign.
"If the new manager had been here three years and built his own side, maybe what we have done this season would be comparable."