Thursday Night Takeaways: Tottenham sacrifice European adventure and Liverpool dispose of Manchester United

It's the European edition of your favourite post-game talking points

A busy night with the first clash of old enemies in Europe as Liverpool hosted Manchester United and Tottenham travelled to Borussia Dortmund.

1) Pragmatic Pochettino sacrifices the European adventure

Anyone who watched this evening's game between Dortmund and Tottenham will agree that, regardless of your allegiances, Tottenham were completely outclassed. Plain and simple. Had they fielded a full strength side, they still would not have beaten Dortmund on their home patch.

But herein lies the point; they didn't field a full strength squad. 

As soon as the team news was released today, you knew what competition Mauricio Pochettino valued most. Nine games remain in this year's Premier League, the Londoners are certainly in the race.

There was a familiar feeling among fans, akin to their exit from the FA Cup to Crystal Palace, that the result really didn't matter that much. Harry Kane was rested on the bench, as was Erik Lamela.

The side wasn't inexperienced and key players like Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli were included in the starting XI. But it was clear that the focus remains solely on league challenge and resources must be managed carefully during the run-in.

Leicester have no additional competitions to contest, while Arsenal have kept themselves in the FA Cup. Tottenham have sacrificed the Europa League, but will almost surely will finish in the top four in the league so Champions League is within reach.

The return leg will be a dismal affair, but if it propels them to a title challenge over the next four weeks, fans will forgive the cynicism.

 

Marco Reus scores his first of the game to help Dortmund to a comfotable 3-0 win. Image: Martin Meissner / AP/Press Association Images 

 

2) Liverpool capitalise on a pitiful Manchester United performance

Jurgen Klopp celebrates his first win over Manchester United tonight and made history as his side won the first clash in Europe between the two arch-rivals.

The 2-0 win doesn't fully reflect the performances; Manchester United were abysmal. Anthony Martial was absent for the majority of the game, so much so that the United bench should have considered sending out a search party for him. 

Memphis Depay displayed poor decision making, while Michael Carrick's cameo at centre-half was uninspiring to say the least.

It was another chapter in the Louis van Gaal story, after winning four games on the bounce, they come crashing down to earth with two defeats and furthermore two extremely poor displays.

I may be hypercritical of United and credit to Liverpool who looked so comfortable at points, it was as if they were three or four-nil up. And certainly they would have been if it were not for the heroics of David de Gea who produced at least four magnificent saves to keep them in the tie heading back to Old Trafford.

Liverpool will begin to concentrate on this competition fully if they are to secure a Champions League spot next year. Performances like this add weight to the idea that they can go far in the tournament, but one look at Dortmund today would make the Germans favourites.

But if there's one man who can engineer a Dortmund downfall, it's Klopp.

Sturridge and Firmino were both on target tonight for Liverpool. Image: Jon Super / AP/Press Association Images