Liverpool came out on top in their first ever European clash against Manchester United last week, and the Red Devils now have the daunting task of overturning a 2-0 deficit at Old Trafford to progress to the Europa League last eight.
Manchester United were outclassed by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the first leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie at Anfield last week, as goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino put the Reds in a commanding position in the tie.
Liverpool need to shut out the Red Devils at Old Trafford, a venue at which they have a terrible record. For Manchester United, it is a must-win clash with severe consequences; their hopes of finishing in the top four in the Premier League are slowly fading, and the Europa League is the only other route to Champions League football next season.
In the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is still not fully fit, Ander Herrera could pair up with Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield. Marcus Rashford remains Manchester United’s best hope up front.
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Rojo, Blind, Smalling, Varela; Schneiderlin, Herrera; Mata, Lingard, Rashford; Martial
Daniel Sturridge’s return to fitness means that the Merseysiders can field their best attacking trio up front with Sturridge aided on either flank by Brazilians Philippe Coutinho and Firmino.
Starting XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Moreno, Lovren, Sakho, Clyne; Can,Henderson, Milner; Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge
- Manchester united were knocked out at the round of 16 stage the only other time they participated in the Europa League.
- Three of Liverpool’s last five goals in the Europa League have been scored through penalties.
- Manchester United have won 12 of their last 14 home matches against the Merseysiders.
- Daniel Sturridge has five goals and an assist in his last seven games against Man United.
- Juan Mata has three goals and five assists in his last nine games against Liverpool.
Manchester United 2-0 Liverpool
Liverpool will not fancy the cauldron-like atmosphere at Old Trafford, where they have a dismal record. The Red Devils will be primed and ready for the must-win clash against their arch-rivals. They played out a hard fought draw in their FA Cup quarter-final clash against West Ham United over the weekend, and will hope to improve upon that performance this time around.
The Red Devils should win this one by the same margin that Liverpool won at Anfield, which could possibly lead to a penalty shoot-out. Whether or not it does boil down to a thrilling penalty shoot-out situation, there is bound to be high drama at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
- Manchester United: 6/4
- Draw: 9/4
- Liverpool: 9/5