Jurgen Klopp saw his Liverpool side destroy United at Anfield a week ago in the Europa League encounter’s first leg that ended 2-0 for the Reds.
The German made his first visit to Old Trafford in Liverpool colors and urged his team to attack right from the beginning even though Liverpool would have gone through with a draw on the board.
This positivity rubbed off on the whole squad who, not even for a minute got bogged down on the field and were always looking for goals even with 10 minutes to go for the final whistle.
Both sides made a change each from their last game. Liverpool bought James Milner in place of Alberto Moreno who was out sick for this game.
Louis van Gaal ditched Memphis Depay from the starting line-up to bring in Jesse Lingard, who missed the first leg.
The game had a frenetic start with both sets of players charging down the ball full of energy. However, neither keeper was asked a question until the first real chance fell to Lingard in the middle of the first half.
Rojo’s cross saw Mignolet come out of his line but retract in the last moment as Lingard got his head to the ball but only for the Belgian to get a firm hand on it.
He should have scored, but this chance saw United gain confidence and dominate the ball for a while until Liverpool finally gave into the pressure. Right-back Nathaniel Clyne clumsily pulled Martial down in the penalty area and the Frenchman picked himself up and put United 1-0 on the night.
This saw the visitors tighten the screws as they made David de Gea worked up in front of goal. De Gea was once again in superb touch and never looked like letting Liverpool score and it needed a piece of brilliance from Liverpool’s little magician for them to put one past the Spaniard.
Coutinho was released by Milner down the left flank and the Brazilian got the better of Varela and took the ball all the way into the penalty area and then dinked one over De Gea before running away in celebration.
It was a superb goal and it came at the right time for Liverpool, right before the break, leaving United with the task of scoring thrice in the next 45 minutes.
The second half also had its moments with De Gea and Mignolet called upon for more than a couple of times but in the end, it was a comfortable game for the visitors who will be more than happy with a draw.
Liverpool now move in the quarterfinal round of the tournament while Manchester Untied squandered their only chance of Champions League football next season.
The Old Trafford manager will be in for a lot of criticism after he decided to leave the likes of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger on the bench for this game.
Klopp, on the other hand, will be ecstatic and will be hoping to continue his good form in England and in Europe after the 3-1 aggregate victory over their rivals.
They travel to the St Mary’s this weekend while Manchester United have a local derby against Pellegrini’s men to deal with on Sunday.
- Jurgen Klopp can take Liverpool places:
Having taken over the club just 5 months ago, Jurgen Klopp has already seen his team reach the final of the League Cup and also the quarter final of the Europa league after this game. He has a squad that is not built for his style of play but he has been able to adjust pretty well and is slowly getting the Reds closer and closer to his style of play. So when he has his own set of players, Klopp can surely have a good time at the Merseyside and may well end the trophy drought at the club at the moment.
- Phillipe Coutinho is actually a magician:
The little Brazilian was the best player on the pitch for both sides at Old Trafford. He was able to beat his players with no fuzz at all and was superb all night long for the Reds. His goal in the dying moments of the first half shows why exactly he is regarded as one of the top European talents and his sizzling run in the second half showed what he can do with the ball at his feet. He also came close a couple of times but was denied by De Gea in what was an absolutely mesmerizing performance by Liverpool’s ‘Most Valuable Player’.
- David de Gea deserves better:
Even as Manchester United needed to shut the shop against Liverpool and score more than twice, David de Gea, the Manchester United keeper was the busier of both the shot stoppers involved in the game. Mignolet had to make a save or two but De Gea was the only reason why Liverpool are not running away with game 6-1 or 7-1 on aggregate. He was superb at Anfield and was once again at his best on Thursday but his heroics were just not enough for his team to move into the next round of the competition. Surely the Spanish international deserves much better than his current squad.
- Marouane Fellaini ‘a thug’, throws elbows for fun:
The first leg at Anfield saw the Belgian shove Emre Can with his elbow but a hearing from the FIFA regulation committee saw him escape any punishment and he was named in the starting XI at Old Trafford. Even as United were losing, Fellaini could not keep his emotions in check as he threw his elbow on Dejan Lovren, a foul that got him booked. He will have to stop using his elbow if he wants to stay away from danger.
- Liverpool hitting some bright form:
Liverpool have now conceded just 3 goals in the last 8 games in all competitions. They have scored 16 goals and have kept 4 clean sheets on their way to the quarter-final of the Europa League. They are just 7 points away from a top 4 spot with 2 games in hand and are poised for a strong finish this season. The injury list has reduced and the star players have hit form just at the right time as Klopp will now be contemplating a top 4 finish this season.