Tuesday's night's Champions League clash between Liverpool and Juventus came on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the Heysel disaster, and was the first head to head between the clubs since that fateful night in Brussels. Those who shook their heads when the draw was made and shuddered at the unflinching nerve of the footballing gods should have remembered that this wonderful game we love so much has a long established habit of throwing up such uncomfortable co-incidences.
There is undoubtedly still a lot of anger directed at Liverpool and its supporters by the people of Turin, diluted though it may be, by the passing of time and the inexorable assimilation of younger supporters for who Heysel is a story told to them by their parents, uncles and cousins.
A whole generation has passed since that horrible, ill-fated spring night in the Belgian capital and it is legitimate to claim that the bedrock of support enjoyed by both sides on Tuesday night was composed of souls who, had they even been around at the time, were certainly too young to have any first hand recollections of what happened in that appalling stadium two decades ago.
Perhaps that passage of time was a required condition for both sets of fans to begin the healing process? It certainly looks that way.
Three years have sped by since I wrote the article The Other 'H' Word in which I expressed a certain dismay at the lack of comment Liverpool Football Club and its supporters had made over the events of Heysel.
One of my observations in the piece was the distinct silence on the subject from the club hierarchy. The official club web site (even back then a prodigious resource of all stuff LFC) was remarkably empty of references to Heysel save for a gratuitous footnote in the history pages regarding our absence from European competition during the late 1980s.
My own polite enquiry as to why the club had not thought it proper to put in place any sort of memorial plaque or suchlike was met with a brusque fobbing off.
Thankfully, this attitude has begun to change and there has recently been a seismic shift away from the head-in-the-sand stance adopted by everyone connected with the club since the disaster. The plethora of comment made since this year's quarter-final draw alone has amounted to more than has ever been previously ventured on the subject. Fans too have begun to offer more than the standard 'a wall collapsed' dismissal of that night's events.
In fact, the depth of response since the quarter-final draw and the willingness now to at least engage in public debate over Heysel is quite startling. I have lost count of the number of Reds' fans I have seen telling their 'stories', warts and all, of the night in national newspapers in the past few weeks. I doubt that would have happened ten, or even five years ago had we been matched together with Juventus in European competition. It is a sure sign that responsibility for what happened at Heysel is at last being acknowledged by Liverpool supporters.
The club too are throwing themselves headlong into bridge-building initiatives and there is a growing sense of a collective contrition coming out of Anfield.
The challenge now is to do something positive with this new thirst for change.
Though, by and large, we can now attend trouble-free matches in this country the problem of hooliganism has not gone away. More likely is the fact that better and more sophisticated policing has merely put a lid on trouble. Certainly we must ensure that the progress which has been made does not slip away into complacency.
Nevertheless it's only fair to point out the strides taken over the years to purge British football of this problem.
We can now look across the continent and pronounce the situation on these shores to be far better than it is in the likes of Holland, Germany and of course, Italy. Indeed, if we're to be truly frank about the events of twenty years ago then it must be said that Juve's own supporters share part of the blame. I don't think it's unfair to get that said and into the open, insensitive though it will seem to some. Furthermore, it seems sad that the movers and shakers of Italian football have been less willing than their English counterparts to learn lessons from that night.
Having said that, we must address our own culpability and what that means. There is no doubt that we must hold up our hands and acknowledge our part in the disaster. That, at last, is beginning to happen. There is a long road to go down but at least we have taken the first steps.
In taking on this responsibility and seeking to make belated amends, we will undoubtedly leave ourselves open to further criticism.
Evertonians in particular take delight in sneering (perhaps with some justification) at the over-sentimentality of some of the banners that tend to get held aloft by Kopites these days. Indeed, those wishing to hurl criticism at Liverpool supporters for the perceived 'tokenism' and the emptiness of various gestures of regret or messages of support expressed by Liverpool fans find soft targets in this respect. Fair enough.
However, I believe it's crass to always mistake this symbolism for a form of hypocrisy.
Certainly in the case of what happened at Heysel, banners and flags, colourful mosaics and free wristbands cannot even begin to equate with 39 lives lost. Quite simply, nothing can. So, should we do nothing? We are damned if we do and damned if we don't.
Therefore, we should be aware that any attempts to build bridges or acknowledge guilt will be met with scorn and derision by the same people who have denounced us for 'covering up' in the past. Clearly, such a rationale reflects more on those people than it does on us.
As for Tuesday night, the genuine depth of remorse displayed towards the 'Old Lady' by the Kop hopefully went a long way to defusing any further trouble.
Perhaps the outpouring of emotion has set the tone for the second leg, which inevitably has far more potential for the generation of a less agreeable atmosphere? What happens in Turin will give us an indication as to how much is still to be done to heal the rift between the supporters of both clubs.
I trust the fans of Juventus respond in the right manner.
For once, I think the ball is in their court.