Manchester United certainly have a mountain to climb in the second leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie against Liverpool on Thursday. Louis van Gaal's men turned in one of their most abject performances of a rather abject season in the reverse fixture a week ago, and succumbed to a 2-0 defeat. In truth, Liverpool's winning margin could've been a whole lot bigger. That means United need to score at least twice to avoid defeat. If they concede, they need to score even more.
Had this been the United of a few seasons ago, the United so accustomed to remarkable comebacks, that would seem a far from impossible task. As it is, this new incarnation is a rather impotent one: van Gaal's side have only scored more than a couple of goals at home seven times this season -- and half of them came before the end of September. Suffice it to say, they could struggle once again against a Liverpool side that is beginning to flourish under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp.
Key player: Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
If United are to have any success, Anthony Martial will likely be involved. The young Frenchman has been their top performer since arriving from Monaco in the summer, with his slothful style belying a fleet-footed dribbler and a fine finisher. His goal against West Ham last time out was his first in six matches, and he'll undoubtedly be hoping that will kick-start another fine flurry.
United may well take hope from their good record against Liverpool under van Gaal. Their defeat last week was the first time they'd failed to beat their Merseyside rivals since the Dutchman arrived in the summer of 2014: they've won their two home games 3-0 and 3-1, respectively, as well as winning away at Anfield twice in the same period. United are doubtless facing an uphill struggle, but this tie isn't quite over yet.
Manchester United injuries and suspensions
Out: Luke Shaw (leg); Phil Jones (ankle); Wayne Rooney (knee); Will Keane (groin). In doubt: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (knock); Ashley Young (groin); Antonio Valencia (foot).
Liverpool injuries and suspensions
Out: Joe Gomez, Danny Ings (knee); Kevin Stewart (ankle); Lucas Leiva (thigh). In doubt: Martin Škrtel (hamstring).
United will still be without their long-term layoffs, including striker Rooney and full-back Shaw. However, versatile wide men Borthwick-Jackson, Young and Valencia will all be hoping to make the substitutes' bench after recovering from recent injuries.
Liverpool's most important absentee is midfielder Lucas, who will likely be joined on the sidelines by defender Škrtel. The Slovakian center-half is close to a return from a hamstring injury, though this game will probably come a little to soon.
Match date/time: Thurs., 4:05 p.m. ET, 8:05 p.m. local
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
TV: Fox Sports 1 (US - English); ESPN Deportes (US - Spanish); TSN, RDS (Canada); BT Sport Europe (UK)
Online: Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2GO, Watch ESPN (US); BT Sport live streaming (UK)