What a victory that was for Liverpool fans to enjoy. Once again, Liverpool have proved to be an extremely difficult opponent for English sides in European football. In a first-ever meeting between two great rivals, Liverpool dismissed Manchester United at Anfield. Only the world class interventions of David de Gea prevented Liverpool from ending the two-legged tie at the halfway stage.
Louis van Gaal had played four games against Liverpool and won all four. His much-vaunted philosophy might not impress the likes of Paul Scholes, but the Dutchman had a knack of finding a way past Liverpool. Not so on Thursday as Liverpool seemed intent on putting another Manchester side to the sword at Anfield. The discipline, control, composure, and cohesion was on display throughout the team -- something that has been noticeable in recent weeks. Sakho -- a cool and composed participant on Thursday -- reflected on an impressive victory.
We were very solid. We played some great football. Above all we were able to be efficient, something that was missing in the league when we played them at home. We took the lessons from that defeat in order to be able to win tonight. Manchester United weren’t non-existent this evening -- we felt that they were present all the same. It wasn’t easy but we were able to respect the orders of the coach. We were determined. We absolutely wanted to put in a good performance, which is what we managed to do. Manchester United are a good team -- a very big club too. As long as the two matches haven’t been played, everything is possible in football. We’ll try to go there and repeat our good performance. In the meantime, we’ll savour this victory.
Liverpool's players and coaching staff will have a week to bask in the warmth of a wonderful evening at Anfield but will make preparations to finish the job next week. Liverpool's season seems to be heating up in the middle of March with a European qualification to fight for in the Premier League along with a Europa League campaign that should still be alive in the quarter-finals. Manchester United are capable of doing something at Old Trafford, but with an uninterrupted week to prepare, Jürgen Klopp's side should be "absolutely buzzing" and full of confidence.
A confident and in-form side is an extremely dangerous one. As Sakho pointed out, this squad is learning quickly and applying those lessons. Liverpool are still alive and still fighting this season.