Jürgen Klopp enjoyed "a great Liverpool night" and Jordan Henderson also hailed the 2-0 defeat of Manchester United as Marouane Fellaini praised David de Gea.
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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp had barely had his feet under the desk a month at Anfield when he questioned the supporters who drifted away early during the home defeat by Crystal Palace on 8 November.
If he felt "pretty alone" that day – as he told the press – he had a rather different experience of Anfield last night. The visit of Manchester United for these great rivals' first European encounter under the lights brought the best out of the Anfield faithful and, with it, his team.
The consequence was arguably the best home performance of his five-month reign – and certainly the best atmosphere. The old songs rolled around the ground, the flags were out in force on the Kop and for a delighted Klopp, it made for a "great Liverpool night".
Klopp told UEFA.com: "I think it is never 100% clear who has to start with the atmosphere, [if] we have to create it on the pitch and have to make it easy for the crowd [but] tonight we didn't have to – today from the first second they gave us the feeling they trust in us and that is perfect.
"I really enjoyed it – it was a great Liverpool night. It is only the first leg, we know this, and we have to go to Manchester, but if we play like this again it will be difficult for them to beat us."
Liverpool played with a pace and intensity that United, particularly in the first half, just could not match. Captain Jordan Henderson highlighted the impact of the home crowd too in acting as a spur to Klopp's players.
"It was brilliant atmosphere from start to finish and it gave us a real lift from the start," he said. "All through the game really we were very good. We started the game well and finished it off well so that is very pleasing."
Liverpool's notable performers included Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino, the scorer of their second goal, and they would have had an even greater margin of victory but for the display of David de Gea in United's goal.
"David de Gea made some good saves but we kept going and I felt we were very solid and created a lot of chances overall," added Henderson, who also noted the greater consistency in recent weeks from a Liverpool side who have now won five of their last seven matches.
At the other end, by contrast, United managed just one shot on target – and that a Morgan Schneiderlin strike straight at Simon Mignolet. Liverpool's fans on the Kop might have displayed a banner showing off five silver European Cups but United have their own proud European history too. However, in front of the watching Sir Alex Ferguson, architect of two of their three European crowns, this was a night to forget.
Marouane Fellaini, probably United's most effective outfield player, sought to find some positives as he said: "The second half we did better, we had more possession and tried to create chances but tonight we didn't create enough to score a goal."
Thankfully, at least they could call on De Gea, who made fine saves from Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge and even got his hand to the latter's penalty kick that broke the deadlock. "Everyone knows the quality of David – he kept us in the game a few times," added Fellaini. "He did well tonight. Now we have a second chance at Old Trafford and it is possible [to come back]. We can score goals – we've done it before."