Manchester United v Liverpool: Hosts must overcome two-goal deficit
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 18/03/16 7:14am
Manchester United must try and overturn a 2-0 deficit when they host Liverpool in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino have put Jurgen Klopp's side in control of the tie and should they find an away goal, United would need to score four to progress.
However, United have overcome a two-goal first leg deficit on four previous occasions in European competition, including once against English opponents, Tottenham, in the 1963 Cup Winners' Cup.
While Liverpool have had a full week to prepare for the second leg, Louis van Gaal's side were in FA Cup action against West Ham on Sunday and also have the prospect of facing neighbours Manchester City this weekend to consider.
Van Gaal will have Marouane Fellaini available to him after UEFA confirmed they would take no action against him for an alleged elbow on Emre Can at Anfield.
However, United must do without Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, both of whom have returned to training, with Van Gaal confirming that Thursday's match comes too soon for them to feature.
The Dutchman also ruled out the possibility of a start for Bastian Schweinsteiger as he eases his way back from injury but Jesse Lingard is back in contention having missed the first leg through suspension.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will be able to call upon James Milner again with the midfielder having recovered from the virus that ruled him our of the first leg.
However, they will again be without Jon Flanagan, who was not included in the 25-man squad for the competition, and Martin Skrtel.
The Slovakian centre-back is back in training after a hamstring injury but has been included in the Reds' under-21's squad for their game at West Ham on Wednesday as he steps up his recovery.
Manchester United have won 12 of the last 14 home encounters with Liverpool in all competitions (L2), only failing to score on one of these occasions.
Daniel Sturridge has scored five times and assisted another goal in his last seven games v Manchester United in all competitions.
Man Utd last turned around a 2-0 deficit after a first leg away tie in the 2013/14 season, beating Olympiakos 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Champions League last 16 return leg.
In contrast, the last time Liverpool were two goals up after a winning the home leg 2-0, they won the away leg 1-0 at Internazionale, also in a Champions League last 16 tie.
United have netted 21 goals in the last 10 European home games, conceding just six goals and with half of the games ending with a clean sheet.
Three of Liverpool's last five Europa League goals have come from the penalty spot.
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
This tie isn't over, but Manchester United need to start quickly and score first if they are to have any chance of progressing.
Liverpool will be happy to drop off, pack the midfield and squeeze when they're in their own half and Juan Mata is the key to unlock the defence.
Marouane Fellaini was lucky to not be sent off in the first leg and I wouldn't be surprised if things boil over and we get a red card here, especially if Liverpool get the away goal and United get frustrated.
Anthony Martial is looking more dangerous and he is definitely United's main dangerman now. He's key for them to have any chance of pushing this towards extra-time, which I wouldn't be surprised to see. I expect them to win the game, but go out.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 and Martial to score first (40/1 with Sky Bet)
Jurgen Klopp's men are currently 6/1 to win the Europa League, with only the German's former club Dortmund shorter odds, while United are 40/1 as they go up against odds of 7/1 to overturn their first-leg deficit.
Phil Thompson nailed a 30/1 scorecast winner by correctly predicting the outcome of the first leg and is going for Daniel Sturridge to score first in a 1-1 draw this time round in his Sky Bet tips.