Roberto Firmino
Roberto Firmino (R) scores the second of the night for Liverpool against United at Anfield.Reuters

Liverpool prevailed in the "mother of all games", as termed by Jurgen Klopp, beating Manchester United in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 16 at the Anfield, Thursday. Roberto Firmino inspired the Merseyside side past Louis van Gaal's listless United.

Liverpool will now go into the second leg at Old Trafford with a commanding 2-0 lead over the Red Devils. 

While Liverpool won 2-0, it could have been a lot worse if not for United's goalkeeper David De Gea, with the manager Van Gaal praising his player's performance.

"I have to say that Liverpool have created an atmosphere that is fantastic. They played very good; in the first half we could not cope with their pressure. Still, they have chances but David De Gea was fantastic," Van Gaal told ManUtd.com

"We (gave away) a penalty and it was a cheap penalty, I think. In the second half, we changed the shape and then we had much more contribution to the game, but we didn't create many chances. They scored another cheap goal, I think, and that's difficult because 2-0 is a very difficult result for us."

Marouane Fellaini was one of the least impressive players on the pitch against Liverpool, and yet the Dutchman went on to praise the Belgian midfielder, who could have easily seen a red for an elbow on Emre Can.

"I have to say that Fellaini was one of the best players on the pitch. I'm very sorry when he makes a mistake like that (alleged foul on Can not punished by the referee). I haven't seen it," Van Gaal added. 

Van Gaal said that the Liverpool players created a lot of pressure on the Red Devils. It was not because of the fans in the stadium that United lost control. 

"No, the pressure is not from the crowd, the pressure is from the players on the pitch. They have performed a very high pressure and that was very good of Liverpool. I said that we did not cope with the pressure of the players on the pitch who always give the ball pressure. Whichever player has the ball, they give pressure to him and that was too much," Van Gaal added.

Later, the United manager contradicted his earlier statement and said that United need to create a similar kind of atmosphere during the second leg of the round of 16 of UEFA Europa League at Old Trafford next week, so that the pressure is right back on the Reds.  

"You have to believe in everything. We can also create an atmosphere like Liverpool has done with their fans. And then everything is possible. We have to give pressure to them. We did that in the second half but not the first half," Van Gaal concluded. 

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