Liverpool make history against Man Utd as Klopp has them dreaming of glorious future

COMMENT: The away support revelled in every second at Old Trafford as the Reds kicked their rivals out of Europe and sealed their quarter-final spot


Jurgen Klopp had got things right in the 2-0 victory at Anfield, and in the press conference ahead of Liverpool’s reverse Europa League fixture with Manchester United, he was correct again.

“We decide how good the atmosphere is,” he said, aware his side could ensure the 3000-strong travelling supporters would have more to sing about than the 70,000-odd home crowd.

When Philippe Coutinho ran straight at Guillermo Varela, dropped a shoulder to skip past him and then beat David de Gea with a chip Lionel Messi would have applauded, the away end erupted.

GOAL READ MORE REPORT: Coutinho magic ensures Liverpool progression

Red flares coloured the night sky and chants of the Brazilian’s name dominated the half-time break. They went through the pages of their hymn sheets as the rest of Old Trafford fell silent and United players dropped their heads.

Louis van Gaal had got things wrong at Anfield and was again incorrect in the media briefing ahead of the second leg. He was adamant his charges could score four if the visitors netted once, but the second Coutinho turned away in celebration, the curtains were effectively closed.

Anthony Martial’s penalty after a Nathaniel Clyne foul counted for little on the night. United were miles better at Old Trafford than they were in L4 last week, but Liverpool’s utter dominance in the opening leg meant they could simply bury one opportunity and make their hosts’ task improbable.

Van Gaal had to encourage United to be ambitious and expansive as they looked to overturn the two-goal deficit, but that afforded Liverpool numerous chances on the break. Had Klopp’s men been sharper in their decision-making and finishing, the scoreline could have been a more jarring one for United.

David De Gea was once again at his brilliant best to deny Coutinho before he got the leveller, while the top of the bar denied a stellar Daniel Sturridge free-kick.

The Reds were gifted counter after counter, but their number 10’s sublime solo effort was enough to seal Liverpool’s progress to the quarter-finals.

Klopp’s men became the first English side to eliminate United from European competition, and in the only continental meeting between these sides. Liverpool’s performance over the two legs will live long in the memory.

The Reds boss has stated he feels his team can win the tournament and ties such as these cement that kind of thinking among the players and supporters. The past week has felt like Liverpool pressed rewind and replicated their glorious European nights from the past.

Under Klopp, they can look forward to colouring continental nights red again.