Mar 17, 2016

    Van Gaal's men likely to face devil of a task


    FIVE-TIME European champions Liverpool will aim to finish off eternal rivals Manchester United when England's two most successful sides clash in the Europa League last 16, second leg at Old Trafford tonight.

    Leading 2-0 from the first leg at Anfield, Liverpool are well placed to reach the quarter-finals of a competition that realistically represents the best chance for either club to qualify for next season's Champions League.

    Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino scored as Juergen Klopp's side dominated the first European meeting between the two Premier League giants. And Sturridge says Liverpool's mindset will not change despite their healthy advantage.

    "We'll approach the second leg exactly the same as we did the first leg. That's the only way we know," he told the Liverpool Echo.

    "The Liverpool way is to win games so we will go into the second leg and be positive.

    "The confidence is there within the camp and we are just looking forward to every game. We are mentally prepared for every job we have ahead of us."

    United face a tough task to turn things around as Liverpool have kept four straight clean sheets in Europe and are unbeaten in nine games in this season's competition.

    However, Juan Mata insists there is still hope for United as they bid to keep alive their quest to become just the fifth club to land all three major European trophies.

    "We need to have a good start (today), with intensity.

    "It's like a final for us. We need a comeback and I'm sure that the atmosphere in Old Trafford will take us closer to that goal. I'm sure it's possible," said the Spaniard, who missed Sunday's 1-1 draw against West Ham in the FA Cup through suspension.

    Borussia Dortmund will seek to protect a 3-0 lead as they head to Tottenham Hotspur on the back of their biggest win against an English side.

    Spurs paid the price for resting Harry Kane and leaving Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela on the bench as they were outclassed by Thomas Tuchel's German title challengers.

    However, Mauricio Pochettino's men are undefeated in nine European home games, winning their last two at White Hart Lane by three-goal margins, although the Bundesliga giants represent a step up in class from previous opponents.