Watch Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United match highlights [VIDEO]

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Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal hailed one of the most important wins of his career after a 2-1 victory over 10-man Liverpool at Anfield opened up a five-point cushion in the race for Champions League football.

Juan Mata scored in each half, either side of Reds captain Steven Gerrard getting sent off just 43 seconds after coming on as a substitute at the interval, and although Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back United could still afford to miss an added-time Wayne Rooney penalty.

The visitors were the dominant force in the first half having got their tactics spot on and Van Gaal said they used Liverpool's own strengths – their intent to press and attack at speed – against them.

"We beat them again with their own weapons and the pressure on the ball," he said.

"Now the gap is five points ahead of Liverpool and six ahead of Tottenham and Southampton so the moment to win is one of the most important in my career.

"The first half was very good because I knew in advance Liverpool would press us and they did and we played them off the pitch.

"We scored a fantastic goal and gave nothing away so it was a superb first half.

"I come in the dressing room and I give all my compliments again but then in the second half everything changed because of the red card and we did not play like a team any more.

"We were running with the ball, unnecessarily losing the ball and when we didn't have the ball we didn't press the opponent with the ball and that was different.

"The second half we were not so good and that is amazing a little bit because we played 11 against 10 and it should be easier but it was not.

"Nevertheless we didn't give many chances away because I cannot remember (David) De Gea making a fantastic save.

"He has saved us a lot of times this season but I cannot remember a save."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his side's failure to get going, even before Gerrard's moment of madness, cost them.

"We were never in position. The second half the players showed why we have been on the run with the character and the resilience and we were still in it right to the end.

"They take great credit from that. The first half cost us more than the second.

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2 Comments

  1. CTBlues March 23, 2015
    • jtm371 March 23, 2015

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