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Charlie Nicholas: Liverpool to lose, Tottenham to draw, Man Utd to win in Europa League

Charlie Nicholas

Charlie Nicholas provides us with his European predictions ahead of the start of the Europa League knockout stages.

A packed schedule on the continent sees Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool all face away trips as they resume their Europa League campaigns.

Here's what the Soccer Saturday pundit is tipping...

Fiorentina v Tottenham (Thursday 6pm)

Image: Tottenham head to Italy in high spirits after Christian Eriksen fired them to a 2-1 victory at Man City

It's a tough, tough tie for Tottenham and the big question is whether Mauricio Pochettino continues to play a strong team. I'm a great believer in momentum and he clearly wants to win this trophy, but he's got two others to consider, with the Premier League the top prize.

I would say that, after an absolutely magnificent result on Super Sunday, he has to make three or four changes. The fixtures are relentless for Spurs now and Pochettino needs to start resting players otherwise their whole season could collapse.

Harry Kane gives Spurs the lead from the penalty spot
Image: Could Mauricio Pochettino rest Harry Kane in Florence?

I can see them going to Florence, keeping it tight and setting it up to finish the job back at White Hart Lane.

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Charlie predicts: 0-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

FC Midtjylland v Manchester United (Thursday 6pm)

Wayne Rooney reacts during Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Sunderland
Image: Manchester United head to Denmark on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Sunderland

Like with Liverpool, United will see the Europa League as a chance to qualify for the Champions League but top four certainly isn't beyond them, mathematically anyway. If they beat Arsenal and then go on a five-match winning streak they'll be back in the top-four mix and even the title race, but who really believes they can do that?

As for their opponents, they've got some talented players but the concern is they've had such a long winter break, not playing since 10 December, so that certainly goes in United's favour.

Manchester United's Memphis Depay heads the ball under pressure from Glen Johnson of Stoke City
Image: Memphis Depay could play a key role, reckons Charlie

Louis van Gaal will chop and change and this presents a chance for a few players to prove their worth, and I fancy Memphis Depay to take the opportunity and bag the winner.

Charlie predicts: 0-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)

Charlie's Sky Bet tips
Charlie's Sky Bet tips

Agree with Charlie? Follow his 25/1 tip for Depay to score in a 1-0 win here.

Augsburg v Liverpool (Thursday 8.05pm)

Image: Liverpool romped to a 6-0 victory at Aston Villa on Sunday, ahead of their visit to Bavaria

It was a stunning result for Liverpool at Villa Park, but what does it mean? They've caught up with a few teams and it's all looking a lot more positive with Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge back.

Can they afford to risk them on Thursday night? I'd be surprised if Jurgen Klopp did, which means more changes. That makes this a dangerous game for me. Christian Benteke comes in but his confidence is going to be low after seeing himself slip further down the pecking order.

Christian Benteke
Image: Christian Benteke could be suffering a crisis of confidence, fears Charlie

As for Augsburg, I'm a strong follower of the European leagues but even to me they're a bit of an unknown. They're having a pretty tough time of it in the Bundesliga but I'm going for them to edge the first leg as Liverpool have a horrible habit of taking one step forward then another backwards.

Charlie predicts: 2-1 (11/1 with Sky Bet)

How do you expect the Premier League clubs to fare in Europe? Leave a comment or tweet us @SkyFootball.

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