There were a few difficult teams in wait for Liverpool in the last 16 of the Europa League after a narrow aggregate victory over Augsburg yesterday. Borussia Dortmund weren't reunited with former manager Jürgen Klopp after drawing high-flying Tottenham Hotspur in probably the tie of the round. Liverpool, however, found an opponent for a two-legged tie that will surely attract as much attention as Klopp facing his former side. Louis van Gaal's army blocks the path to the quarter-finals.
Both sides aren't having the most impressive seasons in the Premier League. Brendan Rodgers was sacked in October after failing to build upon the exploits witnessed in 2013/14, and constant speculation surrounds van Gaal's position with José Mourinho at large after being sacked by Chelsea in December. Only three points separate the sides in the Premier League, but a European clash between the fifth-placed and eighth-placed teams in England's top flight hardly screams quality.
What the game should be, however, is open and somewhat even. Although Liverpool have lost twice to Manchester United this season, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have returned from injury to link up quite comfortably with Roberto Firmino. For Jürgen Klopp, facing Manchester United is cool and provides another opportunity to secure victory against the club's fiercest rival.
It's great. We deserved those games. It won't be easy but you can ask my staff. They said: 'who do you want?' and I said: 'Man United'. I think we have to clear something. We had a good game against them at Anfield but lost 1-0. Now life gives us the chance to make it better. We will try. In this round there was no chance to get any easy games but to get Man United is good.
It's going to be another big test for Liverpool against a Manchester club, but the season remains interesting with pride, glory, trophies, and potentially a return to the Champions League at stake.