Louis van Gaal calls Liverpool support 'fantastic' and suggests referee is at fault for 'cheap' goals conceded by Manchester United

The Red Devils were beaten 2-0 at Anfield in the Europa League last 16

Louis van Gaal criticised the way Manchester United conceded twice in the Europa League defeat at Liverpool.

The Red Devils were beaten 2-0 in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 and United have given themselves a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the last eight.

Roberto Firmino stabbed in the second goal to make sure of a win which had seemed a formality during the first half, when Liverpool played United off the park but somehow had only Daniel Sturridge’s penalty to show for it.

The final result was greeted with huge cheers from the Anfield crowd. Van Gaal said Liverpool deserved their win, but called both goals “cheap” from the visitors’ point of view.

“Liverpool created an atmosphere that was fantastic,” he told BT Sport.

“They played very good in the first half and we could not cope with their pressure. David de Gea was fantastic, but I think it was a cheap penalty.

“In the second half we changed the shape and had much more of the game but we didn’t create many chances and they scored another cheap goal.”

Asked to expand, Van Gaal claimed there was an offside in the build-up to the second goal, while suggesting the contact Memphis Depay made on Clyne was outside the area and not enough to bring the Liverpool player down.

“The referee cannot see that, but the hold is outside the box and then he is falling down,” the Dutchman said. “You have to be sharp when you give it. It is a cheap penalty. They deserve the win, but the goals they got are cheap.”

In the dying stages of the game Emre Can went down holding his face after an off-the-ball clash with Marouane Fellaini, but Van Gaal said he did not see the incident which could yet land his midfielder in trouble.

“I haven’t seen that,” he said.

“I have to say Fellaini was one of the best players on the pitch tonight and I’m very sorry when he makes mistakes like that. But I do not know about this because I have not seen it.”

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