Steven Gerrard

Premier League Rivalries: Liverpool v. Manchester United

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A fierce encounter, Liverpool versus Manchester United makes for one of greatest rivalries in Premier League.

The matchup between England’s two most winning sides dates back to the late 19th century and has added tons of thrilling chapters to its book of history. Steven Gerrard, with nine goals to his name, is the highest scorer in the rivalry’s history.

The two sides play only 30 miles apart at Anfield and Old Trafford, respectively. And even though it’s not a derby when they meet, the friction generated by the Reds and the Red Devils is one draws the attentions of millions across the globe.

Pro Soccer Talk’s Joe Prince-Wright dives into the rivalry’s origin, its development and its actual reality.

What we love about Liverpool

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up it is Liverpool.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Time to focus on the Reds.


The Anfield Roar: Throughout our series detailing why we love each Premier League club, we will undoubtedly talk about the great atmosphere at their home stadium because that is one of the main reasons the PL is revered around the world. But Liverpool’s home atmosphere at Anfield is on another level. It is perhaps unrivalled on the planet. Under the lights Anfield on a big European or Premier League night, the Kop comes alive and the ferocious chanting and passion spills down from the Liverpool faithful. The Anfield Roar has always been famous but it has regained its gusto in recent seasons since Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival and he often whips the crowd into a frenzy with his constant gesticulating for them to raise the noise levels. Anfield always delivers and that is why it should be on your bucket list. The fact Liverpool haven’t lost a home Premier League game since April 2017 says it all. Anfield is a fortress and the famous roar has been restored. Many teams are beaten before the game even kicks off as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is belted out with scarves held high and the roar arrives. It is a sight and sound to behold.

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Jurgen Klopp and heavy metal football: Since he arrived in 2015 Liverpool have come alive and they’ve won the UEFA Champions League, come so close to winning the Premier League title and are on the verge of lifting their first league title in 30 years as they currently sit 25 points clear even though the 2019-20 season is suspended. Klopp has pulled everything together. He has an incredible knack of knowing the right thing to say at the right time, the right way to act in front of the TV cameras and fans and he has created a family among his players and staff. The German coach has done so much to galvanize Liverpool off the pitch with his personality but on it has been his biggest achievement. His personality is extremely likeable and the way he celebrates every goal, corner kick, throw in and tackle fuels the energy behind Liverpool’s high-pressing. His gegenpressing style has taken years to fine tune at Liverpool but his current squad have it down to a tee and his famed heavy metal football is revered around the world. Direct play, high-intensity pressing and incredible work rate is key to his style working and the fans are totally on board. He currently has a better win percentage (61.3 percent) than any manager in their history which showcases his amazing consistency whilst being handed the funds by American owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) to cleverly assemble this team. Klopp will go down as one of the greatest managers the club has ever seen in their incredible history. His smile is a close second.

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An incredible history: Six UEFA Champions League titles. 18 league titles. Seven FA Cups. Eight League Cups. Three UEFA Leagues. Three UEFA Super Cups. One Club World Cup. The list goes on and on. From Bill Shankly to Bob Paisely and Joe Fagan, Liverpool have dominated English and European soccer for decades at a time and their proud history puts them up their with the greatest teams the world has ever seen. Their incredible history is celebrated each and every day by their fans who laud past teams, legendary players and managers and the Song which became famous over the last few seasons details their dominance perfectly. Allez, Allez, Allez, indeed.

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Giving us so many greats, decade after decade: One thing that Liverpool has always delivered as well as trophies is legendary players and managers. We’ve already mentioned Shankly, Paisley, Fagan and now Klopp as managers who have shaped the game but on the pitch the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush, Kevin Keegan, Graeme Souness, John Barnes, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and now Mohamed Salah have become global superstars thanks to their heroics on the pitch in the famous red shirt. Liverpool is a club synonymous with success and having the greatest players in history represent them. Liverpool fans treat their legendary players as god-like figures and the vast majority truly belong in soccer’s pantheon.

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Live, Europa League: LASK v. Man United, Olympiacos v. Wolves headlines

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Five of the six UEFA Europa League games will go ahead behind close doors across Europe on Thursday as the Round of 16 first legs, quite remarkably, will take place with Man United and Wolves in action.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

With the coronavirus outbreak impacting much of Europe heavily, special conditions are in place for Europa League games as two have been called off with Inter Milan v. Getafe and Sevilla v. Roma postponed due to travel restrictions between Italy and Spain.

The two Premier League clubs who remain in the Europa League, Man United and Wolves, travel to LASK in Austria and Olympiacos in Greece for their respective first legs but both games will be played in empty stadiums.

Wolves have issued a statement criticizing UEFA after they wanted their game at Olympiacos to be postponed due to Olympiacos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus. Olympiacos have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative and the game will be played in an empty stadium in Greece.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nuno Espirito Santo will see this competition as a great way to secure Champions League qualification given the congested nature of the top four battle in the Premier League and both Man United and Wolves have taken this competition very seriously, albeit with a bit of squad rotation especially in United’s case. Both United and Wolves are heavily favored to advance to the Europa League quarterfinals are United are the favorites and Wolves the third favorites (behind Inter Milan) to win the whole thing.

Looking elsewhere there is what looks like a lopsided battle between Bayer Leverkusen and Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers as the German side continue their uptick in form, while Rangers have struggled in the Scottish Premiership after they knocked out Braga in the last round. Their game at Ibrox is the only one scheduled to have fans in attendance.

Eintracht Frankfurt against Basel will be an intriguing clash, so too will Istanbul Basaksehir v. Copenhagen as the former have the likes of Demba BaMartin Skrtel and Gael Clichy in their squad. Wolfsburg v. Shakthar Donetsk also takes place with the German side favorites to advance.

Below is the schedule in full for Thursday’s Europa League games, while you can click on the link above to follow all the action live and we will have analysis on Man United and Wolves right here on ProSoccerTalk.


Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg schedule

LASK Linz v. Man United – 1:55 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. FC Basel – 1:55 p.m. ET
Istanbul Basaksehir v. Copenhagen – 1:55 p.m. ET
Olympiacos v. Wolves – 4 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Glasgow Rangers – 4 p.m. ET
Wolfsburg v. Shakhtar Donetsk – 4 p.m. ET
Inter Milan v. Getafe – Postponed
Sevilla v. Roma – Postponed

Europa League last 16 draw: Man United, Wolves face tricky tests

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The draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League has taken place as Man United and Wolves, the two remaining Premier League teams in the competition, found out who they will face.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Man United, the highest-ranked team left in the competition, were drawn against LASK from Austria, the lowest-ranked team remaining. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees the Europa League as a very important competition given the tight battle for Champions League qualification via the Premier League.

Winning the Europa League may be United’s best hope of being in the UCL next season.

Wolves will travel to Olympiacos for the first leg of their tie after the Greek giants knocked out Arsenal in dramatic fashion, with Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side the darkhorses to win this competition.

Plenty of mouthwatering last 16 ties were set up as Steven Gerrard‘s Glasgow Rangers face Bayer Leverkusen, Sevilla and Roma do battle and Inter Milan play against La Liga’s Getafe. Red Bull Salzburg need a miraculous second leg turnaround against Eintracht Frankfurt (they play on Friday after the game was postponed due to a storm in Salzburg, Frankfurt lead 4-1 on aggregate) to reach the last 16 as the winners of that tie face FC Basel.

Looking at these Europa League round of 16 matches, Wolves and Man United will be pretty happy with their draw, while the Bundesliga clubs will be confident of advancing. If you had to pick a couple of teams who are the favorites to reach the final in Gdansk, Poland, you’d have to say Man United, Inter Milan, Wolves and Roma are the frontrunners.

Below is the draw for the last 16 in full as the first legs will be played on Mar. 12 with the second legs on Mar. 19.


UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg schedule

Olympiacos v. Wolves
Sevilla v. Roma
Wolfsburg v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Istanbul Basaksehir v. FC Copenhagen
LASK v. Man United
Inter Milan v. Getafe
Red Bull Salzburg or Eintracht Frankfurt v. Basel
Glasgow Rangers v. Bayer Leverkusen

Europa League preview: Arsenal, Wolves, Man Utd look to advance

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Fifteen places remain up for grabs in the Europa League’s Round of 16 after Steven Gerrard’s Rangers handled Braga in Wednesday’s lone second leg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Notable names Porto, Benfica, and Ajax enter their second legs with hills to climb, while the three Premier League teams have varying degrees of advantage.

Manchester United v. Club Brugge

United enters the second leg at Old Trafford with an away goal advantage after the 1-1 draw in Belgium.

Luke Shaw says the Red Devils are driven by a desire to play for silverware, and the UEL joins the FA Cup as their lone opportunities to claim trophies this year.

“It is a massive ambition for me,” said Shaw, via The Manchester Evening News. “I was there for the Europa League final, and the feeling, even though I wasn’t on the pitch, was a feeling I have not felt and I wanted more of. I wasn’t involved and that is what is pushing me on even more to get into this final, and others. We should be in finals and we should be in all competitions until the end. We are very confident at the moment.”

Arsenal v. Olympiacos

The Gunners claimed a 1-0 result in Greece, and know a draw will be enough to bring Mikel Arteta‘s men to the Round of 16.

The manager was asked what’s different about his Gunners, now back in contention to qualify for Europe via the Premier League table.

“I think the team is progressing well, the club is in a better place,” Arteta said, via Football.London. “We are getting much more unity on the sections of the club and as well a great energy back from the fans every time we play at the Emirates and away from the Emirates. There are a lot of positive things but there are still things to improve individually, collectively and as a club and we are in that process at the moment.”

Espanyol v. Wolves

Wolves rang up a four-goal advantage at the Molineux, and that may give Nuno Espirito Santo a chance to use his depth for a rare time this season.

The boss has counted on players like Conor Coady, Rui Patricio, and Raul Jimenez in all tournaments, and he admits that it’s worn on the squad.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve not suffered,” said Espirito Santo via Wolves’ site. “It’s been tough with a tight schedule, very demanding on the players and I think the credit is on them – the way they compete, the way they prepare themselves to compete, but it’s tough, very tough. … The credit is for the players, it’s for the staff, but the players buying, believing and working very hard, is what makes things go well.”

Look out for Diogo Jota if he plays; The Wolves star has five goals in his past two matches.

Thursday’s second legs

12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs
Istanbul Basaksehir (1-3) v. Sporting Lisbon
Gent (0-1) v. Roma
Malmo (1-2) v. Wolfsburg
LASK (1-1) v. AZ Alkmaar
Porto (1-2) v. Bayer Leverkusen
Espanyol (0-4) v. Wolves
Basel (3-0) v. APOEL Nicosia

3 p.m. ET
Manchester United (1-1) v. Club Brugge
Celtic (1-1) v. Copenhagen
Benfica (1-2) v. Shakhtar Donetsk
Red Bull Salzburg (1-4) v. Eintracht Frankfurt
Inter Milan (2-0) v. Ludogorets Razgrad
Ajax (0-2) v. Getafe
Sevilla (1-1) v. CFR Cluj
Arsenal (1-0) v. Olympiacos