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EUROPA LEAGUE

Klopp: “'Boss tha''; I wanted United – my staff will tell you”

Friday’s Europa League Last 16 draw threw up a first – Liverpool and Man United will meet for the first time in European competition.
Manchester United v. Manchester City live online

Klopp: “'Boss tha''; I wanted United – my staff will tell you”
Jason Cairnduff REUTERS

Friday’s Europa League Last 16 draw threw up a mouth-watering first – Liverpool and Manchester United, the two most successful clubs in English football history, will meet for the first time in European competition.

United have won the domestic league 20 times and the Champions League three times - Liverpool have two less league titles but have been crowned champions of Europe five times. The Reds have never won the Europa League since the format was changed, reaching the semi-final in 2009-10 only to lose to the eventual winners, Atlético de Madrid. Liverpool won the trophy in its previous guise, the UEFA Cup, three times – in 1973, 1976 and 2001.

Between the pair they have won 18 European trophies, including the UEFA Super Cup.

The draw delighted Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. “It's great. We deserve these games. Obviously it is not easy but you can ask my staff but when they asked me yesterday who I wanted, I said 'Man United'”, he said on hearing the news of the draw. “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”

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

United's players seem as excited as Klopp, with goalkeeper David de Gea enthusing on Twitter: 'C'mon'.

Dutchman Daley Blind added on the club’s official web page: “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, took to Twitter to stoke the rivalry in a jovial fashion.