Old Trafford: Roberto Firmino scored twice as Liverpool came from behind to beat Manchester United 4-2 at Old Trafford in the Premier League, at the Old Trafford on Thursday.
After anti-ownership protesters got into the ground and onto the pitch 11 days ago, further demonstrations could not stop Thursday's Premier League fixture going ahead.
A deflected Bruno Fernandes shot put the hosts ahead early on during Thursday’s thrilling and eventful Premier League contest, but the Reds reacted to that setback in hugely impressive fashion.
Diogo Jota’s instinctive flick brought Jürgen Klopp’s side level in the 34th minute, and a powerful Firmino header made it 2-1 in first-half stoppage time.
Their advantage was extended just two minutes after the restart as Firmino coolly converted the rebound after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s hit had been saved, although Marcus Rashford pulled one back for United midway through the second half.
Further chances followed at both ends before Mohamed Salah raced clear in the last minute to stroke in his 30th goal of the season and seal a victory that could prove vital in Liverpool’s quest for Champions League qualification.
While United struggled on turf, supporters, outside the stadium protested against the owning Glazer family - facing riot police and new steel barriers to guard the entrances.
Not only was this United's third game since Sunday, with this rearranged fixture squeezed into the week - but the players had to get to the stadium much earlier than usual after being unable to leave their hotel on May 2 due to the protests at Old Trafford.
"The players handled the situation well," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
"None of them have been complaining. They have got on with it. The preparations have been different. We're not going to make an excuse of that."
He also downplayed the sloppy defensive display, which was more demoralizing than impactful given United has a four-point cushion in second place with two games remaining.
"Football would be really boring if no one made a mistake," Solskjaer said.
"You try to eradicate them and work on them."
For Liverpool, which was playing its first game since its reign as champion was officially ended by Manchester City, the win means the reset target of just making the Champions League is still a possibility. With three games remaining, Liverpool is four points behind fourth-place Chelsea with a game in hand.
"I like the timing. We needed it tonight the most," Klopp said of finally winning at United.
"We always play to win, we just didn't see it often this season."
While United is unbeaten on the road, this was a sixth loss of the Premier League season at a home that will have the fans back inside next week for the first time since before the pandemic in March 2020. Never before in the Premier League has United conceded as many as 27 home goals in a season.
It was a Liverpool defender, though, who helped United go ahead when Nat Phillips accidentally helped to divert the shot from Fernandes into the net.
"We started quite slow," Philips said.
"We knew, despite the things that were happening at the start, we had an extra gear. So I didn't feel too worried."
"We conceded goals at very bad times of the games," Solskjaer said.
"We have a very intense period now, we play the next three games in a week," Klopp said.
"West Brom, which is tough, Burnley with supporters and then Crystal Palace at home. Obviously we are looking forward to that, because our supporters are there but very intense. We have to recover quickly and go again."