Europa League Round of 16 Preview – Manchester United v. Liverpool | Dortmund v. Tottenham
Little Brother has cooked up some delightful match-ups for Round 16. Typically at this point in the tournament there would be an obscure Hungarian side with a potential “we’re using our field as a petting zoo” conflict playing one of the bigger names. However, as the level of play has no doubt increased across a wider swath of teams in recent years, as well as some teams getting desperate (Man Utd/Liverpool) to get into the Champions League next year we the fans benefit and are treated to some marquee match-ups.
Manchester United v. Liverpool
Usually a fireworks and thunder filled affair fueled by proximity and competition to be England’s most successful club. And usually with players like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard who have had the animosity toward the other drilled into their brains from childhood. This one here however…may be a little bit different. The flame may need a bit of oxygen. Little Fido’s hips may need a realignment after years of jumping off the backyard deck. First the match is on a Thursday, in the Europa League and the current table positions are 6th and 7th for Man Utd and Liverpool respectively. Second, instead of Rooney and Gerrard we’ll have Donald Love and Jon Flanagan, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Joe Allen. The potential for a great match between bitter rivals is certainly there and it will be great to see how this plays out over two legs. So all eyes on who decides to come out and pour some fuel on this fire for the years to come. With that in mind here are my leading candidates to do just that:
Lucas: he’s got that little brother quality you can envision riling up an opposing player for a red card worthy tackle
Firminho: high probability he shaved a “I h8 MU” into his head for this one
Flanagan: if a guy with a face like a sea donkey beats you, do you think you’d be happy about it?
Fellaini: teams havent been announced yet but Fellaini is the kind of guy that makes any list involving the potential for infuriating opponents. There are the late tackles, the flying elbows and that muff wagon he has attached to the top of his head
Memphis: right now Memphis is walking tall and feeling extra spritely down that wing. His propensity to showboat may not sit well with the Flanagan faces of the world
Dortmund v. Tottenham
With each team sitting in second place in their respective league this match up has much more of a Champions League feel to it than Europa League. There is a certain attack and high press mindset that has managed to transcend the departure of Jurgen Klopp from Dortmund. They do it extremely well and seem to get a satisfaction out of running defenses ragged. Watching their offense go at the Premier League’s best defense will be fun to watch. This season has also seen Tottenham show off some of these same high press tactics with great success. Playing as a compact unit, with intensity and having their skilled players delivering when needed the most has paid off big time. As long as both teams play their first choice squad ,this is clearly the game to watch if you have the option. Of course, there is a chance Tottenham just doesn’t show up tomorrow after watching this video: