Europa League - 1st Leg
LiverpoolLiverpool2Man UtdManchester United0

Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Anfield
Daniel Sturridge scores against Manchester United
Daniel Sturridge converted from the spot for his sixth goal of the season

Liverpool took control of their Europa League last-16 tie as they swept aside a desperately poor Manchester United at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's side dominated this first European meeting between the two Premier League giants in a thunderous atmosphere - and the German manager's only disappointment will be that the tie is not already settled.

Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool a 20th-minute lead from the spot after Memphis Depay fouled Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino added a second from close range with 17 minutes left.

United did not create a single chance and only the brilliance of goalkeeper David de Gea has kept Liverpool in range as he produced a succession of magnificent saves.

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De Gea spares United humiliation

Liverpool have the destiny of this tie in their own hands now - and Manchester United fans might have been trying to offload their tickets for next week's second leg if it was not for the outstanding De Gea.

The Spain international was world-class and it was only his constant interventions that kept Liverpool's lead anywhere near manageable for Louis van Gaal's side.

De Gea saved superbly at the far post from Coutinho in the first half when many would have given up and showed brilliant athleticism to keep out the Brazilian in front of The Kop in the second half.

He also blocked Sturridge when Chris Smalling missed a simple defensive header in Liverpool's opening surge and demonstrated his reflexes to stop Adam Lallana, as well as punching away Nathaniel Clyne's powerful drive after the break.

In other words, the only reason United have any interest in that second game at Old Trafford is because of De Gea - and if they somehow pull this around it will be down to this virtuoso display.

David de Gea
David de Gea made a string of excellent saves in a first half dominated by Liverpool

Second-class European clash?

The fact two of the Premier League's superpowers had their first meeting on this stage in the Europa League is an indicator of the fact they have fallen out of the elite group contesting the Champions League.

But was this a second-class atmosphere in a second-class competition? Not a chance.

Anfield was crackling two hours before kick-off and The Kop's version of You'll Never Walk Alone evoked memories of Champions League semi-finals rather than this stage of Europe's second-tier tournament.

The prize of a place in next season's Champions League for the Europa League winners is a massive incentive - but so was the old rivalry between two clubs who argue over their respective European pedigrees.

Liverpool's fans revelled in the manner in which they over-ran the old enemy and red smoke from a flare swirled around a cacophonous Anfield after Firmino scored their second.

It may not be the competition these two clubs want to be in - but as Liverpool fans celebrated at the final whistle that complaint will have fallen on deaf ears.

United's fans will need to create a similar environment next week if they are to have any chance of reaching the last eight.

Shambolic Manchester United

This was an opportunity for United to show there is some life left in Van Gaal's regime - but they were a tactical shambles and off the pace all over the pitch, De Gea apart.

Anthony Martial got no service worthy of the name and sympathy goes to teenager Marcus Rashford, dumped in an unfamiliar position on the right flank and removed at half-time when Van Gaal introduced Michael Carrick and went to three at the back.

And the symbol of all United's struggles was the hopeless figure of Marouane Fellaini, taunted for his Everton connections and fortunate to stay on the pitch after being a consistent offender all night, even ending the game by appearing to lay out Emre Can in an aerial challenge.

United were dismal - the only consolation being that despite this harrowing night, they still have a semblance of a chance in the second leg.

Jurgen Klopp
German Klopp has never won a European trophy, but led Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013

In contrast, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool showed signs of becoming exactly what he wants them to be at Anfield.

The Reds simply pressurised United into submission, much to the delight of the manager who was an advocate of the high-intensity "Gegenpressing" system with former club Borussia Dortmund.

They gave United no time on the ball, constantly robbing them in possession and forcing mistakes by being simply too quick and too mobile for Van Gaal's side.

Man of the match: David de Gea (Manchester United)

David de Gea
David de Gea produced key stops to deny Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge - ensuring his side still have a fighting chance of reaching the last eight

The stats you need to know

  • Manchester United have not won any of their past six away games in the knockout stages of European competition, losing five.
  • United have kept just one clean sheet in their past 10 trips to Anfield in all competitions.
  • Daniel Sturridge has scored five goals and assisted one in his past seven games against United in all competitions.
  • United faced eight shots on target against Liverpool, the joint-most they have had to defend in a single game this season.
  • Roberto Firmino has scored in three consecutive games for Liverpool for the first time.

What's next for both sides?

Liverpool's next match is the second leg at Old Trafford on Thursday, 17 March, while Manchester United host West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.



Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Clyne
  • 6LovrenBooked at 43mins
  • 17Sakho
  • 18Moreno
  • 20Lallana
  • 14HendersonBooked at 2mins
  • 23Can
  • 10CoutinhoBooked at 49mins
  • 11FirminoSubstituted forOrigiat 84'minutes
  • 15SturridgeSubstituted forAllenat 64'minutes


  • 4K Touré
  • 9Benteke
  • 24Allen
  • 27Origi
  • 44B Smith
  • 52Ward
  • 54Ojo

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 30Varela
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 5Rojo
  • 28SchneiderlinSubstituted forSchweinsteigerat 79'minutes
  • 27FellainiBooked at 60mins
  • 39RashfordBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCarrickat 45'minutes
  • 8MataSubstituted forHerreraat 79'minutes
  • 7DepayBooked at 19mins
  • 9Martial


  • 16Carrick
  • 20Romero
  • 21Herrera
  • 31Schweinsteiger
  • 36Darmian
  • 47Weir
  • 49Riley
Carlos Velasco Carballo

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamMan Utd
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 2, Manchester United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, Manchester United 0.

  3. Post update

    Hand ball by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

  4. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Michael Carrick.

  5. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  6. Post update

    Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Bastian Schweinsteiger with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Hand ball by Divock Origi (Liverpool).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Roberto Firmino.

  11. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Dejan Lovren tries a through ball, but Philippe Coutinho is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right from a direct free kick.

  13. Post update

    Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  15. Post update

    Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Bastian Schweinsteiger replaces Morgan Schneiderlin.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Juan Mata.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

  20. Post update

    David de Gea (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 10th March 2016

As It Stood




2FC Sion62315509
3Rubin Kazan61326606


1FK Krasnodar641194513
2B Dortmund6312105510
3PAOK Salonika61413307
4FK Qabala6024212-102


2FC Midtjylland6213612-67
3Club Bruges6123411-75
4Legia Warsaw6114410-64


1Rapid Vienna6501106415
3Viktoria Plzen6114810-24
4Dinamo Minsk6105311-83


1Sporting Braga641174313
3Slovan Liberec621368-27
4FC Groningen602428-62




1Lokomotiv Moscow6321127511


1FC Basel6411105513
3Lech Poznan612326-45


4FK Qarabag611448-44


2Sparta Prague6330105512
3Asteras Tripolis6114412-84
4Apoel Nicosia6105312-93


1Ath Bilbao6411168813
3Partizan Belgrade63031014-49
4AZ Alkmaar6114813-54
View full Europa League tables

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