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Europa League: Liverpool and Manchester United prepare to face off in Europe for the first time

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Liverpool and Manchester United will resume their great rivalry in unfamiliar territory this evening as they face off in the Europa League.

The last 16 clash at Anfield marks the first time the two sides have met in European competition.

Historically they are England's two most successful clubs in Europe, with Liverpool having won five Champions Leagues, with their last triumph the historic match in Istanbul in 2005, where they came from 3-0 down at half time to win on penalties.

The last of United's three Champions League successes came in 2008 against Chelsea, having gone on to be beaten twice in the final by Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.

Indeed the size of this fixture would not look at all out of place in the Champions League, and both sides will be disappointed that it is not taking place in Europe's top competition.

But instead they find themselves in the Europa League, which despite not attracting the same level of interest as it's sister competition, has seen a notable rise in quality since a Champions League spot has been awarded to the winners.

Given that both sides are not currently in the Champions League places, winning the Europa League could be their best route to it, which only adds to the magnitude of the tie.

On the pitch the rivalries between the likes Gerrard, Carragher, Scholes and Neville are longer present, with both sides having seen their recent icons depart in the past few years. 

But for the fans, the rivalry between these two clubs is always white hot, and it is probably the most high stakes match between the two sides for some time.

Louis Van Gaal has an imperious record against Liverpool during his time at the club, having won every time he has faced them. But with the 'Klopp effect' in full swing, Liverpool go into the match in good form. 

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