Liverpool took control of their Europa League last-16 tie as they swept aside a desperately poor Manchester United at Anfield today.
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 15th-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.
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.
Meanwhile a much-changed Tottenham were outclassed 3-0 by Borussia Dortmund, who took a commanding lead into the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
With seven alterations, Spurs struggled to contain the hosts and were fortunate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s header was the only difference at half-time.
Gonzalo Castro hit the post before Marco Reus rifled in at the back post.
Son Hueng-min had a penalty appeal turned down but Reus then scored a half-volley after a flowing move.
Tottenham’s heaviest defeat of the season leaves them a mountain to climb against a Dortmund team who must be considered one of the favourites to win the Europa League this season.