When Arsenal host Liverpool on Saturday it will be the first time Unai Emery and Jurgen Klopp have met since the Europa League final of 2106
On that night in Basel, Switzerland, it was Emery who ended up celebrating after he inspired his side to a thrilling second half fightback as they overturned a 1-0 deficit to claim a 3-1 win and lift the title for the third time in as many years.
It was a night that saw Emery’s stock rise further, while Klopp was left licking his wounds after a fifth successive defeat in a major final during his time in charge of Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.
It was a painful night for the German, one that will no doubt flash back into his mind when he walks out of the tunnel at the Emirates and looks into the eyes of Arsenal’s new head coach.
Obviously a lot of time has past since that meeting in Basel and Liverpool will arrive in north London a far better side than the one that ended up being convincingly sunk by Sevilla two years ago.
The Reds have enjoyed their best start to a league season in a decade and are one of three teams in the Premier League that have yet to taste defeat.
Sitting four points and two places above Arsenal in the league, they are the favourites to leave north London with maximum points this weekend – a position they haven’t found themselves in for some time.
But Emery’s side are in a fine run of form themselves having won 12 and drawn one of their past 13 matches and in the Spaniard they have a man in charge who knows what it takes to win these sort of matches.
Klopp is a manager who is known for his passion, for the special connection he builds with his players – but as Emery showed two years again when he went toe to toe with the German, he could be equally as inspirational.
With his side trailing at the break having been completely outplayed by the Merseysiders, Emery sat his players down during the interval and transformed their mindset for the second half.
“I reminded them that we were playing on neutral ground and that we had to imagine we were in our home stadium at the Sanchez Pizjuan,” said Emery after the game.
Within 20 seconds of the restart, Sevilla were level thanks to Kevin Gameiro’s strike and a double from Coke saw them deservedly go on to see off what by then was a well beaten Liverpool side.
It was a fine victory from the La Liga outfit, one for which Emery earned plenty of plaudits.
“We have a coach who is capable of bringing a dead man back to life,” said Sevilla sporting director Monchi, who has since departed for Roma.
“He spoke with a lot of calm at half-time and he convinced the players that if we got at Liverpool then we were capable of turning it around.”
Emery will need to repeat what he did that night in Switzerland when his side take on an increasingly impressive Reds side this weekend in north London.
Arsenal have struggled in recent years when coming up against teams who play with the intense pressing style that Liverpool possess. In fact, they have been blown away at Anfield in each of the last two seasons.
And Liverpool threatened to do something similar at the Emirates last season when they ran Arsenal ragged for 52 minutes and deservedly led 2-0, only for the hosts to fightback and score three goals in a thrilling five-minute blitz to turn the game on its head.
An equaliser from Firmino rescued a 3-3 draw for Liverpool, but even though they left with a point, the warning signs were there for Arsenal as to just what this Liverpool side can do against a suspect defence.
Emery is known for his incredible attention to detail when it comes to planning for the opposition and he is going to have to get things spot on this Saturday against Liverpool, especially at full-back where he could find himself with both his regular starters in Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin. That is hardly ideal when you are up against an attack with possesses Mo Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Saturday night’s game is a major test for Emery and his new look Arsenal. Liverpool will certainly arrive as favourites, but as Emery proved in Basel two years ago – that can count for little if he get things right.