Didi Hamann believes progression to the Europa League knockout stages will provide multiple benefits for Liverpool heading into the New Year.
The Reds take on Udinese in Italy this evening knowing a victory will see them through to the last 32 of the competition. A draw will also suffice should Young Boys fail to beat Anzhi in Switzerland.
Hamann played over 60 matches in Europe for Liverpool and the man the Kop christened 'The Kaiser' was instrumental in the Reds' Champions League victory of 2005.
And on Thursday afternoon he took time out from enjoying an afternoon in the Italian sun to look ahead to the crucial clash at the Stadio Friuli.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: "I think it's a massive game. A win will bring momentum and give us something to look forward to after Christmas when the New Year starts.
"Also, going into the knockout phase will allow the players to learn a lot more. In a knockout game you learn more than you do in a group game because in the knockout phase, one mistake or one goal can make all the difference.
"There are a lot of young players in the team now who have done ever so well. And I think it would be a great experience for them and for most of the players [to play in the knockout stages].
"It would bring them closer together and they would grow as a team, so I think it is very important that we go through tonight.
"Unfortunately the chance was missed against Young Boys thanks to a late goal but that could prove to have been a good thing because if we get a performance and a win tonight, it will give everybody great confidence."
Luis Suarez is the man most fans gathered in the squares around Udine appear to be talking about - the travelling Reds are yet to see the lethal Uruguayan pull on a Liverpool shirt away from home in Europe.
And while Hamann is equally excited about the threat the joint-top Barclays Premier League scorer can pose tonight, he insists other players must step up and aid the No.7 in the goal hunt.
"Luis will be important of course," said Hamann. "He's the main source of goals at the moment and he's the most likely scorer. He's the main man and it's good to have him here. There is a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and hopefully he can deliver.
"But maybe somebody else will step up tonight because we need goals from other players."
The Reds let a one-goal lead slip at Anfield against Udinese in October and Hamann was keen to echo the sentiments of manager Brendan Rodgers, who has warned his squad against complacency and demanded their full concentration in tonight's game.
"I think Udinese showed at Anfield what they can do if you let them play," said Hamann. "It was a game that we controlled for the first 45 minutes. We played as well as we have all season but ended up getting beat 3-2.
"So we have to be very careful. Udinese are out of the competition but they are playing at home and their players will have something to prove. The fact that they have not got a chance to go through won't make a great deal of difference because they will want to show their fans what they are capable of and it will be an opportunity for them to get some pride back.
"I think it will be really hard to win but I'm not sure whether Young Boys can beat Anzhi Makhachkala [in the other Group A match], so a draw might be enough and I'm confident that we can get the result we need."