Liverpool vs Manchester United – Match Preview
England’s biggest rivalry goes Continental
Possibly the biggest surprise when these two got drawn together a few weeks ago is that it is the first meeting of the two in Europe. It quickly changed the opinions of both sets of fans on the Europa League and believe me when I say it is now of great importance to all fans involved.
United came from behind in the last round to brush aside FC Midtjyland in the last round thanks to a brace on the debut of Marcus Rashford while Liverpool found their route here via a very stubborn Augsburg side 1-0 at Anfield.
Since the draw was made the better form has been showed by the team from Merseyside. Fresh off beating the blue side of Manchester and a last gasp, ten man win against Crystal Palace at the weekend, they should be riding high on confidence. United themselves showed naivety in the weekend as they were too reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Juan Mata, a deficit which proved too hard to overcome as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at West Brom.
The two managers talked of their great respect for each other in their respective press conferences. Both were quick to say that friendship can swiftly be put aside when a rivalry like this comes around and mutual respect will most likely be replaced by passion come Thursday evening.
The Europa league as a competition represents the best and probably only route either club can see in to the Champions League next season, making this game as big as it comes for both clubs. From a business revenue point of view it is imperative to finish in the top 4 of the league, however from a fans point of view it would be great to have silverware back at Old Trafford and beating Liverpool on the way would make it all that much sweeter.
On to injury news, Fellaini and Valencia return to the squad, where as Lingard misses out through suspension. Schweinsteiger has returned to training but isn’t in the squad to face Liverpool. For Liverpool, Clyne should replace Flanagan who isn’t registered for the competition and I expect Daniel Sturridge to be involved at some stage.
United are underdogs with the bookmakers and clearly that is down to current form, however Van Gaal has won 5/5 against Liverpool during his tenure and he will be looking to extend that perfect record when the teams meet at Anfield tonight.
Man United: LWWWWL
Roberto Firmino – The Brazilian front man has scored plenty of goals in 2016 and will look to increase his tally tonight and endear himself even more to the Liverpool faithful.
Juan Mata – Fresh of the disappointment of being sent off he will be eager to make amends, knowing what it feels like to win a game at Anfield after netting twice in that special game at Juanfield last year.
Prediction – an attacking and open game resulting in a score draw and plenty to fight for in the second leg 1-1
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