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 By Mark Rodden

Mamadou Sakho: Liverpool learned from Man United loss in January

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho says his side learned the lessons they needed from their home defeat against Manchester United earlier in the season as they got their revenge in the Europa League.

The Reds took a huge step towards the quarterfinals by beating United 2-0 at Anfield in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie on Thursday.

The winning margin could have been even bigger were it not for visiting keeper David De Gea, who made a string of fine saves to give United some hope ahead of next week's return match at Old Trafford.

In January, Liverpool had failed to make the most of their chances in a league fixture between the sides and were punished when Wayne Rooney scored 12 minutes from time to secure a 1-0 win.

Sakho, 26, says that that loss had served as a lesson for Jurgen Klopp's team ahead of the first ever meeting between the two great rivals in European competition.

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"Today we were very solid," the French centre-back told beIN Sports. "We played some great football.

"Above all we were able to be efficient, something that was missing in the league when we played them at home. We took the lessons from that defeat in order to be able to win tonight.

"Manchester United weren't non-existent this evening -- we felt that they were present all the same. It wasn't easy but we were able to respect the orders of the coach.

"We were determined. We absolutely wanted to put in a good performance, which is what we managed to do."

Daniel Sturridge's penalty and Roberto Firmino's second-half goal have given Liverpool a healthy cushion going into the second leg, but Sakho warned that the tie is far from over.

"Manchester United are a good team -- a very big club too," he said. "As long as the two matches haven't been played, everything is possible in football.

"We'll try to go there and repeat our good performance. In the meantime, we'll savour this victory."

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