Manchester United and Liverpool, English football’s two most decorated clubs, will face each other in the last 16 of the Europa League, extending a rivalry dating back to the 19th century into European competition for the first time.
UEFA Europa League last – 16: M.U will meet Liverpool
Saturday, 27 February 2016 03:23
Liverpool ground down Augsburg thanks to James Milner's penalty, while Tottenham saw off Fiorentina with a fine attacking display.
Manchester United briefly wavered against Midtjylland, but came back to record 5-1 win, inspired by debutant Marcus Rashford in attack.
Next up come two fantastic matches: Liverpool vs Manchester United and Tottenham vs Borussia Dortmund.
Holders Sevilla, chasing a third successive title, will play Basel, while Valencia, who have enjoyed a recent resurgence by winning their last four games under English coach Gary Neville, face an all-Spanish tie against Athletic Bilbao.
Liverpool and United first played each other more than 120 years ago, but they have never faced off in European competition, adding an extra dimension to what past experience suggests is likely to be a feisty encounter.
United hold the upper hand in recent meetings and have completed back-to-back league doubles over their rivals, with Liverpool yet to record a victory against United manager Louis van Gaal.
“It’s great,” Liverpool’s German boss Juergen Klopp told reporters following the draw. “We deserve these games. It’s not easy. I told my staff yesterday that I wanted Man United.”
For Liverpool and United the competition has taken on added significance with both having slipped off the pace in the chase for a place in the Premier League’s top four, which would secure qualification for the Champions League.
Europa League round of 16 draw (matches on March 10 and 17)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Anderlecht
Basle v Sevilla
Villarreal v Bayer Leverkusen
Athletic Bilbao v Valencia
Liverpool v Manchester United
Sparta Prague v Lazio
Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham
Fenerbahce v Braga