Belfast Telegraph

Jurgen Klopp's joy as Liverpool take command

By Steven Beacom

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp declared his team's remarkably comfortable 2-0 home victory over bitter rivals Manchester United in their first leg Europa League last-16 tie as payback for supporters who have seen the Anfield outfit struggle at times this season.

Daniel Sturridge netted a first-half penalty before Roberto Firmino doubled the lead after a terrible mistake from Michael Carrick (right), leaving Louis van Gaal's side with a mountain to climb in next week's return at Old Trafford. But for goalkeeper David de Gea, the scoreline would have been embarrassing for United.

While insisting the tie was not over, Klopp said: "I am so pleased for all of the people who have had harder times with us this season. This was the first part of paying them back."

Red Devils legend and BT Sport pundit Paul Scholes described United as 'shambolic' as Van Gaal came under fire.

The Dutchman labelled the spot-kick award as 'cheap' after Memphis Depay felled Nathaniel Clyne.

"Liverpool created a fantastic atmosphere. They played very good in the first half and we could not cope with their pressure," added Van Gaal.

"Losing 2-0 is difficult for us, but we have to create an atmosphere like that next week."

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