Steve McManaman thinks his former club Liverpool drawing Manchester United in the Europa League last 16 is a fantastic moment for the competition.
The two Premier League rivals will meet in Europe for the first time over two legs in March in a tournament that offers the prize of a Champions League spot to the winners.
McManaman, who played for Liverpool between 1990 and 1999, feels the Europa League will receive a massive boost from having such a high-profile tie.
“It is an amazing game for the last 16 of the Europa League,” he told Omnisport.
“Liverpool against Manchester United is big any time they play each other, whether it’s the Under-21 or the youth team.
“The fact they are playing each other on a European night I think it is going to be an amazing game. It will highlight and lift the Europa League competition as a whole.
“Everybody, with the respect to the Europa League, talks about the Champions League but in this Europa League we are now in the last 16 and there are some really big teams in it now and this will give it a bit more gravitas.”
One negative for McManaman was the guarantee that one English side will exit the competition, while Tottenham also face a tough test in the last 16 against Borussia Dortmund.
He added: “I am torn really because I wanted all the English teams to go through.
“I like the English teams progressing in European competitions, I think it is important and the fact that one of the teams will go out in that tie – and Tottenham have drawn Borussia Dortmund which is a hard game – is a bit of a shame.
“The co-efficient is very important. Last year in the Champions League we didn’t get past the last 16. Chelsea are down at the minute but still in it. You’d expect Arsenal to be knocked out by Barcelona but Manchester City should be okay. You want the English teams to keep on progressing.
“A lot of the European teams don’t like the Premier League because it is very powerful and it is cash rich, so I think it is important that the English teams fight back and do well in European competitions because we haven’t done well of late.”
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