The Reds head into the game looking to build on their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League last weekend.
United, meanwhile, are also keen to bounce back after they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
With both Premier League clubs currently languishing outside of the top four in the table, their best chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League may come by winning the Europa League this term.
And former Arsenal man Nicholas is expecting to see the home side take the initiative against the Red Devils on Thursday night.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Nicholas said: “This may not be a derby geographically, but it’s like the north London rivalry and it’s very difficult to know what’s going to happen.
“It was a strange performance against Crystal Palace, but Liverpool got the result which gives them the momentum going into the match. Whereas United’s top-four hopes took a huge hit in losing at West Bromwich Albion, meaning they both need to win this competition even more.
“Most will be expecting Daniel Sturridge to come back in, but you never know what condition he’s in. Christian Benteke should be the one banging on Jurgen Klopp’s door demanding the chance to play against this United defence.
“He’s just scored a big goal which could be the corner turned. The way he took that penalty tells me he’s up to the challenge of proving he can still make a big contribution.”
Liverpool’s dramatic win at Selhurst Park on Sunday moved the Reds up to seventh place in the Premier League table heading into the final nine games of the season.
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