The Europa League this season has thrown out some incredible games in the Round of 16 and none bigger than the English rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United, two of the most successful clubs in the country.
Liverpool were sublime in the first leg at Anfield and are 2 goals to the good thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino. The Reds will go into this game knowing that getting a result of this game will see them through to the next round.
Louis van Gaal will be aware of the threats of this Klopp’s Liverpool and his team will have to play according to plan if they are to put up a fight and get into the next round. It will, for a fourth time this season, be an intriguing battle between two managers with different approaches to the game.
Here is the preview along with the team news, predictions, expected line-ups and betting odds:
The 2nd leg of the Round of 16 of the Europe League tie between Manchester United and Liverpool will be played on Thursday, the 17th of March at the Old Trafford in Manchester. The kick-off is scheduled at 8:05 pm GMT (1:35 am IST on Friday).
Manchester United were dealt a blow earlier in the week when it was revealed that club captain Wayne Rooney is out for atleast another month due to injury. However there is good news elsewhere as LVG welcomed Ashley Young and Brothwick Johnson back to training this week. The likes of Jesse Lingard are expected to play a part In this game against Liverpool while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Valencia are still not fit enough to start.
Jurgen Klopp revealed that defender Martin Skrtel will not be available for this trip to Old Trafford. However, he has no new injuries to deal with and vice-captain, James Milner who missed the first leg through illness is also back in contention for a game this mid-week. Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are the only other senior team members unavailable for this tie.
De Gea; Varela, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Herrera, Schneiderlin; Mata, Lingard, Depay; Martial
Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno; Can, Henderson; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino; Sturridge
Anthony Martial vs Dejan Lovren:
In the first leg, Martial hardly troubles the Liverpool back four but at Old Trafford the France national is expected to turn up the heat against Liverpool. Dejan Lovren, who has been solid at the back for the Reds ever since Klopp came in will have his hands-full and will have to play at his best to contain the tricky young forward who is capable of helping United get something from this tie.
Roberto Firmino vs Chris Smalling:
Firmino has been arguably the best player in England since the turn of the year. He has been sensational and had some great time at Anfield against the arch rivals. He will have to be kept in check by the likes of Smalling who will have to stay close to him and afford no space or time on the ball. Firmino however, will be hoping to continue his brilliant scoring streak in recent times.
Manchester United have won 12 of the last 14 home encounters with Liverpool in all competitions (L2), only failing to score on one of these occasions.
Daniel Sturridge has scored five times and assisted another goal in his last seven games v Manchester United in all comps.
Man Utd last turned around a 2-0 deficit after a first leg away tie in the 2013/14 season, beating Olympiakos 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Champions League last 16 return leg.
In contrast, the last time Liverpool were two goals up after a winning the home leg 2-0, they won the away leg 1-0 at Internazionale, also in a Champions League last 16 tie.
United have netted 21 goals in the last 10 European home games, conceding just six goals and with half of the games ending with a clean sheet.
Liverpool haven’t lost in European competition since February 2015 (W4 D5).
Manchester Untied: 13/8
Manchester United have history behind them but will not find it easy to put two past this Liverpool side that has now conceded just one goal in the last 3 games. They will have to force the issue on the night which might play to Liverpool’s strengths making it harder for the home side to get anything from this game. But this rivalry has never ceased to amaze the football world and this game might just produce some drama.
Our Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool