Liverpool draw old foe Manchester United in Europa League last-16

February 27, 2016 | 09:24
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The other English side in the competition, Tottenham Hotspur, will face off against German side Borussia Dortmund.
Former Swiss forward and this year's UEFA Europa League final ambassador Alexander Frei shows the name of Manchester United during the round of 16 draw of the UEFA Europa League football championship at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Feb 26, 2016. (AFP Photo/Alain Grosclaude)

SINGAPORE: Long-time English rivals Liverpool and Manchester United will square off for a place in the quarter-finals in the Europa League, while the remaining English side Tottenham Hotspur will tackle Germany's Borussia Dortmund.

In the draw on Friday (Feb 26), former Switzerland star Alexander Frei picked the two English foes out of the hat. Manchester United's coach, Louis van Gaal, has the edge in the tie, having won all four ties he has been involved in.

Meanwhile, the other notable clashes include the all-Spain affair featuring former Manchester United defender Gary Neville's Valencia facing Athletic Club.

Fellow Spanish club Villareal will have to contend with Germany's Bayer Leverkusen while the remaining Spanish side Sevilla has a seemingly favourable draw with FC Basel.

The draw delighted Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. "It's great. We deserve these games," he said.

"Obviously it is not easy but you can ask my staff but when they asked me yesterday who I wanted, I said 'Man United'. I think we have to clear something. We had a good game when we lost 1-0 (in the league) but it was not what we deserved.

"It gives us a chance to make it better and that is what we will try to do. There were no easy games in this round so there was no chance for an easy game. Man United - cool."

Before then, Liverpool travel to Wembley to face Manchester City in the League Cup final on Sunday.

"With the draw today it seems like it is Liverpool against Manchester - like always - but now in really important games," added Klopp.

The plum tie of the round will see United, who have never won the competition, head to Anfield on Mar 10 before hosting the Reds at Old Trafford a week later.

United's players seem as excited as Klopp, with goalkeeper David De Gea writing on Twitter: "C'mon".

Dutchman Daley Blind added on "It's a busy schedule coming up again and Liverpool will be a great game to play in, especially as it's now in the Europa League.

"You're either in or out, through to the next round or not, so it's very important for us. They will say it's important for them too so we have to show that we want it more."

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, now a pundit on British Sky Sports, took to Twitter to stoke the rivalry in a jovial fashion.

"Great Europa League draw for LFC, if we win happy days if we lose LVG will probably stay!!" he said, referring to United manager Louis van Gaal, who has probably been more popular on Merseyside than in Manchester this season due to United's troubles.


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