Liverpool won the first major clash against bitter rivals Manchester United in European football as goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino handed the Reds a 2-0 first leg advantage in the Europa Cup round of 16 fixture.
The noise at Anfield was deafening as the kop fans and away supports raised their voices on a special night not quite a UEFA Champions League encounter but because of the rivalry of both sides it was easily the biggest game in Europe on Thursday night.
Jordan Henderson was fired up as he looked to win his first game against Manchester United as Captain of Liverpool but picked up a yellow in the second minute for a foul on Morgan Schneiderlin.
However, before the half hour mark the home side was awarded a penalty when the referee pointed to the spot after Memphis had had a little tug at Nathaniel Clyne right on the edge of the penalty area, and perhaps clipping the heels as well but it looked like a harsh call.
Daniel Sturridge stepped up and planted the penalty past David De Gea, who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out. The Manchester United goalkeeper was required to make a fantastic save like he has done all season as he stopped Philippe Coutinho from making it 2-0 as the first period ended in favour of the home side.
The away side started the second half brighter as Morgan Schneiderlin rifled in a right foot shot from 25yards but was saved by Simon Mignolet in goal for Liverpool and at the other end De Gea saved from Coutinho again and Nathaniel Clyne before Roberto Firmino made it 2-0.
A terrible mistake from substitute Michael Carrick gave the ball straight to Adam Lallana who kept his composure in the box to find Firmino and the Brazilian scored to maintain his good form in 2016.