Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could have few complaints about the cards his side have been dealt following the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Reds have been a two legged tie against Portugal giants FC Porto.
Of course the Estadio do Dragao side are no mugs but the draw could hardly have been any kinder to the Reds as they avoided landed European heavyweights Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Klopp’s men could also have faced a 4,500-mile round trip to Ukraine to take on a resurgent Shakhtar Donetsk, who qualified impressively at the expense of Napoli.
The other option was Basel but Kopites have had enough bad memories in that Swiss city to last a lifetime.
Instead it’s Portugal in February. Sergio Conceicao’s side stand between Liverpool and a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2009.
It ticks all the boxes. It’s accessible and it’s winnable.
Klopp has plenty of time to do his homework on a side who progressed as runners-up in Group G behind Besiktas.
Naby Keita, who will join Liverpool next summer, can expect a phone call from his future boss having faced Porto twice with RB Leipzig. Porto lost 3-2 away to the Bundesliga side and won 3-1 at home.
Scoring plenty but vulnerable at the other end (they netted 15 and conceded 10 in six group matches), Porto have plenty in common with Liverpool. This won’t be a cagey affair.
Cameroon international striker Vincent Aboubakar will be the main threat. He took his tally for the season to 20 goals in all competitions with a hat-trick in their 5-0 thrashing of Vitoria Setubal on Sunday which took them top of the Portuguese Premier League – ahead of Sporting on goal difference.
The omens are good. Liverpool are unbeaten in their four previous meetings with Porto. Gerard Houllier’s side knocked them out en route to winning the UEFA Cup in 2001. Rafa Benitez then got the better of them in the Champions League group stage in 2007.
The Estadio do Dragao will be rocking on Valentine’s Day but the Reds will have the benefit of home advantage for the second leg on Tuesday, March 6.
Porto keeper Iker Casillas knows only too well what Anfield is like when the stakes are high on European nights. The veteran keeper was part of the shell-shocked Real Madrid side hammered 4-0 at Anfield in 2009.
The two-legged ties brought the best out of Klopp two years ago when Liverpool upset the odds and marched on to the Europa League final in Basel. Repeating the trick among Europe’s elite will be more difficult but the Reds have already showcased what they are capable of when Klopp picks his best XI.
They have a frontline capable of hurting anyone on the continent. Hopes will rise further if the manager bolsters his backline in January.
With Real Madrid facing Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea taking on Barcelona, there will be some big names absent from the last eight, writes the Liverpool Echo.
Liverpool have been handed a glorious opportunity to march on. Raging on Sunday after Everton somehow escaped from Anfield with a point, this is one draw Klopp won’t find difficult to stomach.