The Liverpool of old, and all too familiar United

It's rare for a Europa League round-of-16 series to generate lots of passion, but the Liverpool-Manchester United series is different. Both clubs are shadows of their former selves, but bragging rights still mean a lot in one of English soccer's great rivalries. And Liverpool had a lot to brag about. For once.

The only thing Liverpool fans could complain about their 2-0 win on Thursday at Anfield is that it should have been more. But they'll take it, like the three straight wins in the Premier League raised hopes that new Jurgen Klopp just might be able to turn things around.

"It was a great atmosphere, I am so pleased for all of the people who have had harder times with us this season," Klopp told BT Sport after the game. "Tonight was the first part of paying them back. The atmosphere was unbelievable, really great, and I want to say thank you to everyone involved. That was Liverpool how I knew it before I came here."

The Liverpool performance managed to draw praise from former Manchester United star Paul Scholes.

"Liverpool had a way of playing," he said on BT Sport. "United? I didn't have a clue what they were trying to do."

Scholes bemoaned that the massive spending under manager Louis van Gaal -- $350 million -- produced so little. United is in the Europa League because it was knocked out the Champions League, and it might not qualify for either next season.

"They should be competing with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich," said Scholes. "United didn't need a new philosophy, they had one for 20-odd years that worked."

For Scholes' former teammate, Rio Ferdinand, the problem is not the players van Gaal has brought in, but the players he has let go.

"The fairytale has gone," Ferdinand said. "The players he has let go, Angel Di Maria, Nani, Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck, Rafael, Darren Fletcher, are they worse than the players out there? They are better than that team out there today, that's the problem."

1 comment about "The Liverpool of old, and all too familiar United".
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