Thursday, 10 March 2016

Liverpool Vs Man Utd 1st Leg

UEFA Europa League | 10 March 2016 | Anfield |
Attendance: 43,228 | Scorers: Sturridge pen (20'),
Firmino (73')

Manchester United will have to overturn a first-leg
deficit in order to reach the Europa League
quarter-finals, after a disappointing 2-0 defeat
against Liverpool at Anfield.

The hosts took the lead midway through the first
half courtesy of a Daniel Sturridge penalty and,
despite a string of excellent saves from David De
Gea, doubled their advantage with 17 minutes
remaining through Roberto Firmino's close-range

Ahead of the game, Louis van Gaal opted to make
three changes to the side that lost at West Brom
last time out, with Guillermo Varela, Morgan
Schneiderlin and Marouane Fellaini replacing
Matteo Darmian, Michael Carrick and Ander
Both sets of fans were in fine voice to greet the
players as they emerged from the tunnel, but
United were determined not to get caught up in the
occasion and immediately went on the attack,
though Marcus Rashford was unable to connect
fully with Memphis's cross.

After an expectedly frantic opening period, the first
real opportunity for either side brought the game's
first goal. With 19 minutes played, Nathaniel Clyne
earned the hosts a penalty after going down in the
area under challenge from Memphis and, despite
De Gea getting a hand to it, Sturridge converted
the spot-kick.

With the visitors rattled, it might have been 2-0 just
minutes later, but this time the keeper came out on
top. Again Sturridge was involved, this time digging
out a low cross to the far post towards an
unmarked Philippe Coutinho, but De Gea somehow
got back to claw the ball away and in turn deny
what looked like a certain goal.

The Spaniard was called upon again shortly after
the half-hour mark, with Liverpool in search of a
second goal. There was an element of fortune
about the home side's next chance as Smalling
slipped while attempting to head a cross to safety,
allowing Sturridge time to shoot, but De Gea stood
tall to block the striker's effort.

Meanwhile, van Gaal's men were struggling to
make a mark on the contest, but did register a
couple of rare shots on goal with half-time
approaching, as Memphis's long-range free-kick
swerved comfortably wide, before Marcos Rojo
blasted over from range.

There was time for another superb first-half stop
from De Gea, as Liverpool attacked down the right
through Emre Can. The midfielder crossed towards
Adam Lallana, whose close-range volley was kept
out excellently, a save which kept the game firmly
in the balance going into the break.

Possession: Liverpool 61% United 39%
Shots at goal: Liverpool 6 United 3
Shots on target: Liverpool 5 United 0
Corners: Liverpool 2 United 0

A difficult first half for United prompted a change
in formation and personnel at the interval, as
Michael Carrick was introduced, in a substitution
which immediately gave van Gaal's men more
control. Schneiderlin tried his luck from the edge
of the area on 47 minutes, but his effort was saved
easily by Simon Mignolet.

Liverpool were quick to remind van Gaal's side of
their attacking threat though, and created an
opportunity of their own at the other end. This
time, Coutinho's goal-bound volley dipped towards
the top corner, but again it was De Gea to the
rescue, as the keeper dived to tip the ball over the

If there were any questions about United's
standout performer at Anfield, De Gea soon erased
any doubt, after being called upon yet again to
keep the hosts at bay with 25 minutes remaning.
Clyne found space on the edge of the area and
drove a shot towards goal, but United's no.1 proved
his worth once more, palming the ball to safety.

There was nothing De Gea could do about
Liverpool's second goal, however, which eventually
came on 73 minutes. After Carrick's attempt to
clear the ball fell short, Lallana seized his chance
to pull the ball back for Firmino, who had the
simplest of finishes from six yards.
Despite the setback, an away goal would have
changed the complexion of the tie, and was almost
provided by Fellaini with five minutes remaining.
Bastian Schweinsteiger - off the bench as a late
substitute and making his first appearance since
January - crossed to the far post but the Belgian's
header dropped narrowly wide.
Next week's fascinating second leg at Old Trafford
awaits, with United in need of another memorable
European comeback.

Possession: Liverpool 58% United 42%
Shots at goal: Liverpool 13 United 8
Shots on target: Liverpool 5 United 1
Corners: Liverpool 7 United 0

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Moreno,
Can, Henderson, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino (Origi
84'), Sturridge (Allen 64').
Subs not used: Ward, Benteke, Toure, Smith, Ojo.
Booked: Henderson, Lovren

United: De Gea, Varela, Smalling, Blind, Rojo,
Schneiderlin (Schweinsteiger 79'), Fellaini,
Memphis, Mata (Herrera 79'), Martial, Rashford
(Carrick 46').

Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, Riley, Weir.
Booked: Memphis, Rashford, Fellaini Bastian
Schweinsteiger is on the bench and could make his
first appearance since the Emirates FA Cup win
over Sheffield United on 9 January.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is on the bench and could
make his first appearance since the Emirates FA
Cup win over Sheffield United on 9 January.


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