Atletico Madrid
Leg 1
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FC Salzburg
Leg 1
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St. Kitts and Nevis
12:00 AM UTC Apr 27, 2018
Game Details

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wanted to draw Man United in Europa League

Jurgen Klopp has welcomed Liverpool's pairing with Manchester United in the last 16 of the Europa League, saying he had decided beforehand it was the draw he wanted.

The draw in Nyon in Switzerland on Friday pitted the Reds against their bitter rivals after both progressed on aggregate in Thursday's ties.

Liverpool's 1-0 win at home to Augsburg inched them through after a 0-0 draw in Germany a week earlier, while United overturned a 2-1 deficit against FC Midtjylland of Denmark, winning 5-1 at Old Trafford.

The English clubs will now face off in a two-legged tie on March 10 and 17 that will be huge for both sides -- and Klopp told a news conference on Friday it was exactly what he had hoped for.

"That's great -- we deserve this game," Klopp said. "It's not easy, but you can ask my staff, when they asked yesterday who I wanted, I said Man United."

James Milner's penalty on Thursday was enough to push Liverpool into the Europa League last 16.

Klopp said there was no chance of an easy ride in a Europa League draw that also contained the likes of his old club Borussia Dortmund, holders Sevilla, Tottenham Hotspur and Valencia -- managed by former United captain Gary Neville.

And Klopp explained that there was unfinished business between his players and Louis van Gaal's United after their last meeting on Jan. 17.

Van Gaal's men won the Premier League encounter with a solitary Wayne Rooney strike despite otherwise making little impression on a game in which Liverpool dominated but were wasteful.

"I think we have to clear something [up]," said Klopp. "We had a good game with them and lost 1-0. It was not what we deserved but we got it and this is a chance to make it better.

"In this round there was no easy game, so it's OK. Man United? Good."

As he also contemplated Sunday's League Cup final against Manchester City and a league meeting with City at Anfield next Wednesday, Klopp added: "With draw like today's it seems like it's Liverpool v Manchester -- like always."

Tom is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @writertombell.


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