The Reds head into the game fresh from their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League last weekend, while United are aiming to bounce back from their disappointing loss to West Brom.
The two sides have not met in European competition before, and former Liverpool star Barnes is expecting to see a tight game ahead of next week’s return leg at Old Trafford.
Writing in his column for Titanbet, Barnes said: “This will be a close game and I think both teams will be content with a draw going into the second leg.
“The goal-scorers will be Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata.”
The two sides have met in 166 domestic league games ahead of Thursday’s European showdown.
Liverpool are unbeaten in eight European games this season (W3 D5), and have not lost in six Uefa home matches.
Manchester United’s record in six Europa League matches to date is W2 D0 L4 (W1 D0 L2 at home – W1 D0 L2 away).
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news