Wednesday 24 January 2018

Players, fans and social media revel in Man United/Liverpool Europa League draw

Old rivals being paired in Europe for the first time has the internet in a frenzy

Manchester United have been paired with Liverpool in the Europa League last 16 - and social media could hardly be more excited.

The Premier League rivals have never been drawn together in European competition but will face each other over two legs next month in the tie of the round.

United booked their place in the last 16 with a 5-1 win over FC Midtjylland on Thursday while Liverpool defeated Augsburg 1-0.

The other Premier League team still involved in the competition, Tottenham - who beat Fiorentina 3-0 on Thursday - have been drawn against German side Borussia Dortmund.

It is fair to say that it attracted rather more reaction than the standard Europa League last 16 draw.

Louis van Gaal has played Liverpool four times since arriving at United in 2014 and has won all four games, most recently a 1-0 victory at Anfield. They defeated them 3-1 at Old Trafford earlier in the season thanks to a superb goal from Anthony Martial.

Elsewhere, Gary Neville's Valencia have been paired with another Spanish side, Athletic Bilbao.

Games will be played on 10th and 17th March.

What are the managers saying?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says facing Manchester United was the tie he wanted as England’s most successful clubs prepare to meet in Europe for the first time.

Klopp says he and his staff were hoping to face Louis Van Gaal’s side to make amends for the recent Premier League defeat.

“It’s great. We deserve these games after the game (against Augsburg) yesterday,” said Klopp. “It is not easy bit you can ask my staff and me who we want and they say we want United. We need to clear up something. We had a good game and lost 1-0 to them, which is not what we deserved.

Jurgen Klopp is happy with drawing Man Utd

“Life has given us a chance to make it better and that is what we have to do and will try to do. In this round there was no easy game. Manchester United is cool.”

With the League Cup Final on the horizon, Klopp said it seemed the next month would be a case of ‘Liverpool v Manchester’.

What are the players saying?

"I was in the gym. I think everyone got the message. If you see all teams left in there aren't any easy games. They know us as good as we know them so it makes no difference. Last game we played at home we were better team. We have to stay calm. At this moment in time I don't think anyone is thinking about it." - Simon Mignolet, Liverpool goalkeeper

What are the odds?

Man Utd win the tie 8/11

Liverpool win the tie Evens

Tottenham win the tie 6/4

What is the full draw?

• Liverpool v Manchester United

• Fenerbahce v Braga

• Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham

• Shakhtar Donetsk v Anderlecht

• FC Basel v Sevilla

• Villarreal v Bayer Leverkusen

• Athletic Bilbao v Valencia

• Sparta Prague v Lazio

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