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Clyne: “We Owe United”

Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne is looking forward to a Europa League tie with rivals Manchester United and says the Reds owe them for earlier domestic results.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Six points back of fourth with ten games to play is a deceptively small gap that has given some Liverpool fans faint hope of cracking the top four this season. A more likely route to success this year and Champions League football next year, though, remains in the Europa League.

There, Liverpool are set to face off against rivals Manchester United on Thursday at Anfield before heading up the M62 for the return leg next week on St. Patrick’s day. Defeat their rivals over two legs and Liverpool will be through to the quarter-finals with a real chance at silverware and qualifying for next year’s Champions League.

Despite that the Europa League is the continent’s second cup competition, ties like Manchester United v. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund v. Tottenham this week are true marquee match-ups, and even beyond the chance to advance, Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne says it’s the sort of game he signed with the club to play.

"Everyone loves to play European football so it’s going to be exciting up against our rivals United," Clyne told the club’s official website. "I think we owe them from the Premier League games, which we probably should have got more out of, but we have time now to put things right and make sure we progress through the cup."

Advancement is far from assured, though on recent form Liverpool are likely slight favourites, but if the Reds can get past United they will be one of the favourites to win the Europa League alongside whoever comes out top between Dortmund and Tottenham. For now, though, the only focus is on the first leg at Anfield.

"We need to take it to them, especially in the first leg when we’re at home," added Clyne. "Try and get some goals but also keep a clean sheet, which is the most important thing. This is why I signed for such a big club—to look forward to nights like this."

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