Why an all-English tie suits Man United more than Liverpool

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Liverpool’s hosting of Manchester United in the Europa League this week will be the first time the sides have met in continental competition but also the first all-English fixture in the tournament since 1973.

The match will be the 36th time English sides have faced off in Europe and while there have been only eight away wins in that time – with 13 home victories and 14 draws – it seems the Manchester club are better suited to playing familiar teams when on European duty.

United have lost just one of their nine European games against domestic opposition – a 2-0 away loss to Tottenham back in 1963 – and even then they secured progression to the next stage of the Cup Winners’ Cup via a 4-1 second leg demolition of Spurs at Old Trafford.

Since then United have seen off Everton (1-1, 2-1), Chelsea on penalties in the dramatic 2008 Champions League final, Arsenal (1-0, 1-3) and Chelsea (0-1, 2-1) giving them a European record against English clubs that reads six wins, two draws and one loss.

Liverpool may be more familiar with facing teams closer to home, having played in 18 such ties, but with six losses, eight draws and just four wins success has clearly been hard to come by.

Liverpool have won a first leg European tie against an English side just once – a 1-0 win over Spurs in 1973 – and lost on four separate occasions, to Leeds, Nottingham Forest and twice to Chelsea.

This week’s match is the first of its kind since the year that Ryan Giggs was born and it could be the Manchester United legend – who will sit in the dugout as assistant manager on Thursday – who comes away smiling this time round.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.