Liverpool Coutinho Manchester United
Philippe Coutinho scores the decisive goal past David De Gea in the Europa League last 16 second leg between Manchester United and LiverpoolReuters

Philippe Coutinho stepped up on the big stage at Old Trafford, scoring a delightful goal to end all Manchester United hopes and send Liverpool soaring into the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

Staring at a 2-0 deficit going into this last 16 second leg, Manchester United got back into the tie in the 32nd minute when Anthony Martial converted a penalty to take his team to within one goal of levelling the tie.

However, Coutinho ended the tie and this second leg as a contest with a wonderful individual goal in the 45th minute to ensure Jurgen Klopp and his men would go back to Liverpool with gleeful smiles on their faces.

Unlike the first leg, when Manchester United looked like a team that did not realise the magnitude of this tie, the home team started fast and bright, snapping in to those tackles and at least trying to make life difficult for Liverpool. However, this Liverpool side, full of confidence from the 2-0 win at Anfield in the first leg, are a different team, and had it not been for David De Gea, the goalkeeper who kept Manchester United in the tie in the first leg with a string of saves, this second leg would have been over a lot earlier as well.

De Gea denied Coutinho with a brilliant save, tipping the ball beyond the goal with an outstretched arm, before Daniel Sturridge hit the crossbar with a freekick and Jordan Henderson fired over, when he really should have been rippling the net.

With Klopp wondering if Liverpool would pay for those misses, the fear of a Manchester United comeback only increased when Martial stepped up to slot in a spotkick after the forward was brought down inside the penalty area by Nathaniel Clyne.

However, Coutinho marked his name on this tie with an effort to remember on the stroke of halftime, sashaying his way past right-back Guillermo Varela, before finding a shot with such precision that it found the back of the net from an acute angle.

With Manchester United now needing three goals to knock Liverpool out and find a way into the quarterfinals, the home team went into their shells a little bit, aware the tie was as good as over. The home crowd, buoyant after that Martial goal, were now forlorn and started making their way out of Old Trafford with 15 minutes to play, much to the delight of the Liverpool supporters, who sang their hearts out in praise of their team until the final whistle.

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