Van Gaal: Glory days of rivalry in the past
Louis van Gaal has said that those who deride Manchester United and Liverpool for being in the Europa League are living in the past.
Although the clubs' first clash in Europe is limited to the second-tier tournament, United manager Van Gaal said: "How many titles have Liverpool and how many titles have Manchester United? It was another time. You live in the past. You have to live in the present.
"This happens in football. It's normal. It's not normal that one team dominates for 20 years in a row as champions."
The rivalry between the teams promises to create a special atmosphere tonight, at what will be the first night-time match between the sides since May 1999.
Van Gaal could become the first United manager to record five successive victories over Liverpool, but he suggested it would give him no more pleasure than it would have done to have beaten West Bromwich Albion last Sunday.
His side lost 1-0 at the Hawthorns, to leave them in sixth place, three points from a Champions League qualification spot with nine matches to play. Van Gaal understands the significance of the fixture, but is equally aware of the importance of improving league form.
"I want to win every game," he said. "When I lose, I'm very disappointed. You can see that. My body language is very expressive, I think.
"It is curious that we have beaten Liverpool so many times when I have been here. It's also good for me. When I beat teams such as Liverpool, then the appreciation of the fans is higher and bigger. I hope we shall beat Liverpool for the fifth and sixth time, but it is more for the fans than for me.
"I want to win every game and we prepare ourselves to beat the opponent. It does not depend on whether we play Liverpool or West Bromwich Albion. It is also a big disappointment for us that we lost against West Bromwich Albion."
Full-back Antonio Valencia and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger both trained yesterday as they continued their comebacks from long-term injuries. Valencia, who has been absent since the end of October with a foot problem, is in contention for a place among the substitutes tonight, but Van Gaal has indicated that Schweinsteiger is not yet ready to return.
The midfielder has completed only two full training sessions since recovering from a knee injury sustained in early January.