Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said it's "great" his side were drawn against Manchester United in the next stage of the UEFA Europa League prior to Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Manchester City.
The Europa League round-of-16 draw was announced just before Klopp's press conference on Friday, and the Reds chief gave his side's fixture opposite United two thumbs up, per the official Liverpool Twitter account:
Liverpool FC @LFC
Thumbs up from Jürgen Klopp on facing @ManUtd in the @EuropaLeague! https://t.co/vMLUtVyGEX2/26/2016, 1:24:19 PM
Clearly not afraid of the challenge posed by the Red Devils, the German tactician detailed it was United he was hoping to draw, giving him and his men the chance to seal their revenge next month.
Liverpool have lost to Louis van Gaal's side twice this season, falling 3-1 at Old Trafford before succumbing 1-0 at Anfield in January, and Klopp is excited to have another chance at their rivals, per the Liverpool Echo's Kristian Walsh: “We had a good game and lost 1-0. It was not what we deserve. It gives us the chance to make it better. In this round, there is no easy games. Manchester United? Good.”
The Merseyside giants are scheduled to host United on March 10, but Sunday's Capital One Cup final is the more immediate concern as Liverpool prepare to face the Citizens twice in the space of four days.
Klopp was unsurprisingly unwilling to divulge anything by way of tactics, however, per the Telegraph's Chris Bascombe:
Chris Bascombe @_ChrisBascombe
Klopp: “I can’t talk about tactics for the final. I think in Manchester they have a television.”2/26/2016, 1:12:15 PM
Liverpool defeated Manuel Pellegrini's side 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium back in November, but this weekend's trip to Wembley is likely to be a much-altered atmosphere for the players.
It's only been four months since Klopp arrived at Anfield after leaving Borussia Dortmund last summer, but the manager has silverware in his sights and told the assembled media how much it would mean to him and his troops to clinch a title:
Do you think I need breathing space? We will see afterwards what it will mean to me. We’re in this job to win things - titles, cups, whatever. A lot of players or managers can work their whole life and not win anything. I’m sure you will see we really want to win this. That’s a pretty strong opponent, it feels like Liverpool v Manchester - like always.
Manchester City's packed schedule has also been the centre of some controversy lately, and it's been a matter of days since Pellegrini's side sealed a 3-1 win at Dynamo Kiev in the first leg of their Champions League clash.
Some in the Citizens squad may still be fatigued from Wednesday's outing, but Klopp felt no sympathy for his upcoming opponents, per the Times's Tony Barrett:
Tony Barrett @TonyBarrett
Klopp on the effects of City playing in Kiev in midweek: "They flew. They did not walk."2/26/2016, 1:20:57 PM
Liverpool face City at Wembley on Sunday before welcoming Pellegrini's outfit to Anfield next Wednesday for a Premier League showdown and then United in the Europa League just a week later.
The Reds' rivalries with both Manchester outfits is reaching fever pitch, and Klopp appears more inclined to embrace the pressure rather than shy away.
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