The Europa League has long been considered the Champions League’s little sister as opposed to its equal, but the draw for the last 16 has raised an unparalleled level of interest in Europe’s lesser competition.
Manchester United will meet Liverpool as England’s two most decorated clubs come face-to-face for the first time in European competition.
It’s a joy when the two meet in the Premier League. In Europe, the rivalry will be taken to a whole new level.
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Of course, Twitter went wild when the draw was made as fans look ahead to the two-legged clash. Victory in the Europa League is the best opportunity for both sides to qualify for next season’s Champions League and fans are counting down the days until March 10, when Anfield will host the first match.
Check out the best tweets, memes and gifs the internet had to offer below:
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United fans are fully expecting their newest hero Marcus Rashford, the 18-year-old striker who scored two goals for the Red Devils in their 5-1 win over FC Midtjylland on Thursday, to stun their Merseyside rivals.
The best reaction went to Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher. The former defender views the clash as a win-win for the Reds because if United win, they could be forced into keeping the under-fire Louis van Gaal.
The United v Liverpool clash isn’t the only last 16 gem. Tottenham will take on Dortmund in a bout that pits two of Europe’s most stylish teams against each other.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are firmly in the Premier League title race and are considered the favourites from England’s contingency to win the Europa League.
In Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund, however, they will come up against the in-form Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
Check out the best reaction to Tottenham v Dortmund below.
Tottenham v Dortmund is the tie of the tournament’s best teams but it is certainly the United v Liverpool game that has garnered the biggest reaction.
Van Gaal’s team eventually overcame Midtjylland but they didn’t make it easy for themselves and trailed 3-1 on aggregate at one point in the second leg. But Nikolay Bodurov’s own goal, Rashford’s brace and individual strikes from Ander Herrera and Memphis Depay ensured there would be no upset.
Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool advanced to the next round thanks to a 1-0 aggregate win over Augsburg, James Milner scoring the winning goal from the penalty sport.
There are other contenders remaining in the tournament, including Shakhtar Dontesk, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen, but United v Liverpool is certainly the matchup of the last 32.