Europa League last 16: Man Utd draw Liverpool, Spurs to take on Dortmund
In what is the first in European competitions, English Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool have been drawn together in the Europa League last 16 in Nyon on Friday
Nyon, Switzerland: In what is the first in European competitions, English Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool have been drawn together in the Europa League last 16 in Nyon on Friday.
Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (2R) celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg football match between Manchester United and and FC Midtjylland at Old Trafford in Manchester. Pic/AFP
Red Devils have won the English title 20 times and the Champions League three times, compared to 18 and five for Liverpool. Between the pair they have won 18 European trophies, including the Super Cup. The plum tie of the round will see United, who have never won the competition, head to Anfield on March 10 before hosting the Reds at Old Trafford a week later.
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.
United reached this stage thanks to their come-from-behind 5-1 win over Danes Midtylland on Thursday in which debutant teenager Marcus Rashford scored a brace to held the Red Devils to a 6-3 aggregate victory.
Liverpool scored early but then limped to a 1-0 win over Germans Augsburg on Thursday night to progress by the same score on aggregate. Three-time former winners Liverpool last won the competition in its previous guise as the UEFA Cup in 2001.
In another single-country draw, former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville's Valencia will take on Athletic Bilbao. Holders Sevilla faced a kinder draw against Basel, where this season's final will be held, but there was nothing kind about Borussia Dortmund being paired with Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham are twice former winners of the UEFA Cup while Dortmund were beaten finalists on two occasions.
It was a tough draw for the Germans as Bayer Leverkusen plucked Villarreal out of the hat while former winners Shakhtar Donetsk and Anderlecht were paired. Shakhtar won the competition in 2008 while Sevilla have triumphed four times in the last 10 years. Valencia lifted the trophy in 2004 while Athletic were runners-up in 2012.
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Anderlecht (BEL)
Basel (SUI) v Sevilla (ESP)
Villarreal (ESP) v Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Athletic Bilbao (ESP) v Valencia (ESP)
Liverpool (ENG) v Manchester United (ENG)
Sparta Prague (CZE) v Lazio (ITA)
Borussia Dortmund (GER) v Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)
Fenerbahce (TUR) v Sporting Braga (POR)