The Europa League got a whole lot more interesting this afternoon as Liverpool were paired up against old rivals Manchester United in the round of 16 ties to be played next month.
While most people associated with either club would have preferred for the two to be kept apart, particularly at such a relatively early stage of the competition, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has a decidedly different outlook on the tie:
“It’s great. We deserve these games, with the game yesterday [against Augsburg].
“Obviously it is not easy, but you can ask my staff, when they asked me yesterday ‘who do you want?’ I said ‘Manchester United.'”
Klopp went on to reveal that avenging the recent 1-0 Premier League defeat to Man United at Anfield was a strong motivator in his desire to be paired up with Louis van Gaal’s side once again:
“I think we have to clear something. We had a good game when I was here when we played against them, but we lost 1-0. It was not what we deserved on that day, but we got it.
“Life gives us the chance to make it better and that’s what we have to do, and what we’ll try.
“In this round, there were no easy games so we had no chance for an easy game. So we have Manchester United – cool!”
Moving away from the Europa League, Klopp was giving very little away in terms of his tactical selections ahead of Liverpool’s Capital One Cup final with Man City on Sunday – Klopp’s first trip to Wenbley since taking charge at Anfield just over three months ago.
“Some of us dream our whole life for one final. I am really looking forward to it.
“I won’t talk here about our tactics for Sunday here. Even in Manchester they have televisions!”
One thing Klopp did discuss in relation to his team for Sunday is that he will have a difficult job in selecting who actually plays, especially since Adam Lallana, Joe Allen, Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren have all resumed training:
“This morning I had 13 players in training and it was the highest level. I don’t want to say it was because of the final but it was the highest level. They are all ready and now I have to make decisions – overnight, not today.”