In Review

Man Utd vs Liverpool: Fans must make Old Trafford 'crackle'

United believe they can overcome 2-0 deficit, but much depends on the supporters

Manchester United must try to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Liverpool in their Europa league showdown at Old Trafford tonight.

Manager Louis van Gaal believes it is possible - although it was left to midfielder Ander Herrera to issue a rallying cry.

"We have to deliver," said Van Gaal, who added that his side owed fans a "big result".

The Dutch boss said he was confident his side could score the three goals that would see them into the quarter-finals, but added: "In sport, you can lose and you can win; that you have to accept".

Van Gaal's calm but rather downbeat assessment of the situation "could not match Ander Herrera for chest-beating, sinew-stiffening defiance", says The Times. "In the end, the stirring speech came from the baby-faced midfield player from the Basque Country."

Bilbao-born Herrera pointed out that United had beaten Liverpool in four of their last five encounters and called on the fans to get behind the team.

"Old Trafford is different. The pitch is bigger, the grass is better, so it is completely different. I think we are ready," he said.

"We are very proud. We are Manchester United players. We have beaten them before. We were the better team. They are not so comfy playing here, in front of our fans. If they want to go to the quarter-finals, they are going to have to fight a lot."

Getting supporters on side could be a tough ask for United, says Jim White of the Daily Telegraph. "Grumbly quiet" is the norm at Old Trafford these days: "Under Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes... the place has been more often redolent of a library than a bear pit."

But European nights bring out the best of the fans, he adds, particularly when the cause looks lost. A comeback from 2-0 down against Barcelona in 1984 and a 3-2 win over Juventus in 1997 represent two high-water marks for the United support.

"Oddly, the very lack of excitation raised by United's defeat at Anfield raises the possibility that the air could crackle," says White.

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