A dominant Liverpool were worthy 2-0 winners over Manchester United as the old foes met in Europe for the first time on Thursday, while Borussia Dortmund outclassed Tottenham Hotspur in their Europa League last 16, first leg.
At a boisterous Anfield, Liverpool were on top from beginning to end as United lost to their great rivals for the first time under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal, a penalty from Daniel Sturridge and a Roberto Firmino effort separating the teams.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will go to Old Trafford for the second leg next Thursday in a good position to advance to the quarterfinals, although that United retain any hope is largely down to David de Gea.
The Spanish goalkeeper could not keep out Sturridge’s 20th-minute penalty that followed a tangle between Memphis Depay and Nathaniel Clyne just inside the box, but he kept the visitors in the game for long periods after that.
De Gea saved twice from Philippe Coutinho and once each from Sturridge and Clyne before Liverpool, attacking the Kop with gusto in the second half, got a deserved second goal in the 73rd minute.
When Michael Carrick, who had replaced the suffering Marcus Rashford at halftime, made a mess of dealing with a Jordan Henderson ball, the excellent Adam Lallana pounced to set up Firmino to score.
“We can be confident with a two-goal advantage but that can be dangerous sometimes,” Henderson told BT Sport as he looked ahead to the return.
“We’ve just got to go there as if it were 0-0 and take it from there.”
Earlier, a brilliant Dortmund brushed aside a Tottenham side not helped by coach Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to rotate his squad.
Click here to watch video For his 100th game in charge, Pochettino made seven changes to the team that drew 2-2 with Arsenal last weekend with Harry Kane among those left on the bench and Dele Alli suspended.
Teenager Joshua Onomah was among those handed a start against a Dortmund side near full strength, although Ilkay Gundogan was missing with a foot injury.
The prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had one effort ruled out for offside before getting the breakthrough on the half-hour mark, rising above Ben Davies to head home a Marcel Schmelzer cross.
Tottenham were never at the races, and Gonzalo Castro hit the post from a tight angle in the 51st minute after Aubameyang had lifted the ball over Hugo Lloris.