The biggest rivalry in Premier League football is taken to a whole new level when United and Liverpool face off in an high intensity clash in the Round of 16 of the Europa League this mid-week.
Both clubs are far away from a top 4 spot and the Europa league provides a great opportunity to get into the Champions League next season and it will be important for both sides to try and get a result in this first leg. Liverpool are high off the back to back victories over City and Palace in the league and will hope to take a good lead back to Old Trafford in a week’s time.
Van Gaal on the other end will try and put pressure on the home side and will hope to take the tie to the second leg with some advantage. It will surely be a game that will catch the imaginations of the fans of the sport all around the world. Here is the preview of this game along with the team news, predicted line-ups, predictions and betting odds:
The Europa league Round of 16 first leg game between Liverpool and Manchester United will be played on Thursday the 10th of March at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool. The kick-off is scheduled at 8:05 pm GMT (1:15 am IST on Friday).
The Liverpool manager revealed that club vice captain did not train with the side after catching a virus and will miss out on the first leg of this tie. Lucas Leiva, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are the only other players on the injury list while Jon Flanagan is not eligible to play this game for the Reds. Star striker Daniel Sturridge will most probably start after being rested for the last two games.
Louis Van Gaal’s injury list is getting better as half of the injured players now fit. He now has 5 senior players on his injury list compared to 14 it was on January. Rooney, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson are still out on injury while no player is under Suspension for European competitions. Schweinsteiger is back in training and might be on the bench while Valencia is fit to start on the night as the manager revealed in the press conference.
Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Can, Henderson; Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho; Sturridge.
De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Mata, Martial, Lingard, Rashford.
Phillipe Coutinho vs Chris Smalling:
Coutinho has undoubtedly been Liverpool best attacking player for more than a season now. He showed his class coming in late on against Palace and will be hoping to have a similar effect from the start against United. Smalling who has been solid at the back for the Red Devils will have to stay on his toes and give the Liverpool star no sight at goal else he can easily punish the visitors.
Marcus Rashford vs Dejan Lovren:
Rashford has been in tremendous form off late and has already scored 4 goals for the club this season. He will once again lead the line for the visitors and will have to be at his best against a side that has let in just one goal in the last 3 league games. Lovren has been superb coming back from a small injury lay-off and will have to stay tight to the youngster who looks to be a good finisher.
Manchester United have been victorious against Liverpool in their last 5 matches, scoring a total of 12 goals.
The Red devils are not good away, as they have lost 2 of their last 3 away games.
Manchester United’s last 5 Europa league games have seen more than 2 goals scored.
Liverpool have kept clean in their last 3 Europa League games, and have been victorious in their last 3 home games.
Rooney (176) has overtaken Arsenal’s Thierry Henry (175) as the scorer of the most goals for a single club in Premier League history.
Liverpool have conceded more goals from corners than any other team in the Premier League this season (7).
United have scored with all four of their shots on target against Liverpool this season in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s failure in the last game against United, ended up with the Reds unable to find the net. That game ended an eight-game Premier League run of scoring at Anfield. It is the first time under Klopp they have not scored at home.
Van Gaal has won all four Premier League games against Liverpool.
Manchester United: 3/1
This is the first game in a European competition between the two sides and the stakes could not be higher. Both clubs will give it a fair shot and this game has all the makings of going all the way down to the wire. At Anfield however, Liverpool will be slight favorites to take some advantage going away from home in the second leg.
Our Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United