Europa League news & results
Liverpool win, Spurs and Manchester United loose first leg in Europa League Last 16
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side defeated Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United 2-0 with goals from Sturridge at 20 minutes and Firmino at 73 minutes. Klopp's men dominated the match, the first European meeting between the two titan Premier League clubs, in front of a sold-out Anfield Road stadium filled with enthusiasm in a thunderous atmosphere. To date, Klopp has never won a European trophy, however the German led Borussia Dortmund to the Champions League final in 2013.
Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring with a penalty shot and gave Liverpool the lead after Memphis Depay fouled Nathaniel Clyne, Roberto Firmino added a second goal at range at the end of the clash. Sadly for fans, United was unable to score. However the brilliance of Red Devil’s Spanish goalie David de Gea kept United in range of catching up with several magnificent saves helping to keep fans’ hopes alive to the end.
De Gea was world-class throughout the match and was later honored by being named man of the match after United faced eight shots on target by Liverpool, the joint-most they have had to defend in a single game this season. In the first half, De Gea saved superbly at the far post from Brazilian International Coutinho, demonstrating de Gea’s superb athleticism and sharp mind.
De Gea blocked Daniel Sturridge, stopped Adam Lallana, and thwarted Nathaniel Clyne's powerful drive in the second half. Obviously the glory of winning the 2016 Europa League is a potential prize along with the delight for all concerned to earn a spot in next season's Champions League tournament is an added incentive as the arch-rivals prepare for the second leg of the tie.
With the excitement of a Champions League Final in the air, Anfield Stadium was filled to capacity two hours before kick-off time. Supporters were singing The Kop's version of You'll Never Walk Alone. Celebrating Liverpool fans provided red smoke from a flare at the final whistle after Firmino scored their second – sealing the victory. United's fans will no doubt be equally supportive for their club as Man Utd seek to reach the last eight.
Popular United teenager Marcus Rashford had trouble adjusting to an unfamiliar position on the right flank, and was taken out at half-time when Van Gaal brought in Michael Carrick. Striker Marouane Fellaini was taunted by fans and did not play his best game. However United still have a chance to go through with a sound win in the second leg due to de Gea’s agility in protecting his box.
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool looked like they are continuing to improve and pull together as a team with Klopp’s high-intensity "Gegenpressing" system that involves keeping opponents away from the ball by constantly robbing them and forcing mistakes by being fast and mobile. After the game, a happy Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp remarked, "It was good. No matter how you play against Manchester United it is always difficult to make chances. We could have scored more goals in the first half, but that's life.”
"Scoring the second goal was very important. We know it is only the first leg but we needed to win it and we did. We are in a good position now, we want to go through to the next round,” continued Klopp. "The atmosphere tonight was unbelievable. Really great and I want to say thank you to everyone that was involved. That was Liverpool how I knew it before I came here."
"It was not too bad to be honest! We were really good from the first second, everything was there but we could have scored more. That sounds crazy I know but we had the chances. In the end, 2-0, if you said this before the game of course I take it. But it's not over, we go to Manchester but it's the best thing we could do. It was a great atmosphere; I am so pleased for all of the people who have had harder times with us this season. Tonight was the first part of paying them back. We gave them no time in any situation. I'm really pleased for Joe Allen, he has not been playing and I don't like this but he showed how strong he is."
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was also delighted with the win against arch-rivals United as he praised fans. “The fans were brilliant, electric. That gave us a great boost. De Gea made some good saves, we created a lot of chances and we felt we could be two or three up," said Henderson.
United had won all four of their previous games against Liverpool under Dutchman boss, Louis Van Gaal. "It was a surprise that we did not cope with it," said Van Gaal. "In the second half we tried to press like Liverpool. They had difficulties but we did not create too many chances." Manchester United are sixth in the English Premier League, three points off the top four, as they battle for Champions League qualification for next season and face a tough match against West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg Results – Thursday March 10, 2016
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United
Athletico Bilbao 1-0 Valencia
Basel 0-0 Sevilla
Fenerbahce 1-0 Sporting Braga
Shakt Donsk 3-1 Anderlecht
Sparta Prague 1-1 Lazio
Villarreal 2-0 Bayer Lev
Football Tickets for Manchester United and Liverpool
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