Player ratings: A string of positive performances as Liverpool gain upper hand against Manchester United

Anfield Night

Liverpool were 2-0 winners over Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie at Anfield.

Liverpool put themselves into pole position for a place in the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win over Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie at Anfield.

Daniel Sturridge opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Memphis Depay brought down Nathaniel Clyne near the midpoint of the first half when the home side were starting to get on top in the game.

United had goalkeeper David De Gea to thank that the game wasn't put beyond reach after a string of fine saves kept his side in it for much of the encounter.

Roberto Firmino doubled the home side's lead from close range giving Liverpool a terrific chance to finish the job when they travel to Old Trafford next week.

It was a historic night at Anfield as the two sides met for the first time in European competition and Jurgen Klopp can afford to be pleased with the performance of his players.

Here's how they rated on first viewing: 

Simon Mignolet - He wishes every night was like this. Dealt with things well when called upon but hard to score him higher because he wasn't threatened all that much - 6

Nathaniel Clyne - His run was the cause of the brainless pull-back from Memphis for the penalty, got forward well, defensively hard to fault. Probably his best performance in a Liverpool shirt - 8

Dejan Lovren - Booking disrupted dangerous looking counter-attack, handled the threat of Anthony Martial very well. Another good performance from the Croatia international - 7

Mamadou Sakho - Whenever the ball came over the top he dealt with it in the most composed way Sakho can. Thought about situations, got Liverpool out of one or two tricky looking spots, though one may have been of his own doing, but you'll take that display from any centre-back - 7

Alberto Moreno - Still isn't very good at set-pieces but his defensive display was much improved from the one seen at Wembley not so long ago. Build on a positive performance at Palace - 7

Emre Can - Getting better by the game, another mature display. Relished the physical contest with Fellaini when called upon, composed, used his presence well. He's turning this critic into a fan - 8

Jordan Henderson - Early booking, probably wouldn't get it in English game, looked fired up as if he had a point to prove. Moving around better, should score but thought he led the side well and kept them on the front foot - 7

Adam Lallana - Does very well for Firmino's goal, linked with Clyne well, kept possession at the right end of the field, wasn't afraid of having a go at Fellaini - 7

Philippe Coutinho - Instantly saw what Liverpool were missing from his absence in the two league games. Forced a top save from De Gea, naive booking for the dive - 7

Roberto Firmino - Always found space, bit unpredictable for both sides which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Ball for Sturridge should've led to a goal in the first half, his was well taken and could be crucial - 8

Daniel Sturridge - Well taken penalty, home side looked dangerous whenever he was one on one with a defender. Goalkeeper prevented him from having more. Did his fair share of damage by 60 - 7

Subs: 

Joe Allen - A performance of good work rate and intelligence when he came on. Ensured the Reds kept possession, intercepted one pass in particular quite well which demonstrated how well he can read the game - 6

Divock Origi - Gave the ageing Michael Carrick a torrid time at the back with his pace. Proved he was the right substitute to help see out the game as his pace kept United on the back foot - 6

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch