Manchester United 2 – 1 Liverpool Match Report: Mata’s Brilliant Brace Gives Red Devils Victory over


Juan Mata scored twice to give Manchester United the 2-1 victory of Liverpool at Anfield.

Controlling your emotion is a talent. Louis Van Gaal was spot on when he declared this ahead of the predictably volatile clash between Manchester United and Liverpool yesterday. LVG invoked his inner Martin Atkinson, who had a stellar performance as center referee, during the training ground sessions in preparation for the much vaunted battle for a Champions League spot. Van Gaal seized the whistle during training to simulate a hostile environment to acclimatize his team to the level of aggression and tension they might have to navigate at Anfield. LVG, quite often taunted as a micro-manager of sorts, the quintessential PE teacher, has always touted his philosophy of teaching his players how to think rather than how to play. He was very deliberate in ensuring that none of his players picked up a red card in this vital match. This approach would prove a genius stroke of game management, as it was one of the main keys that United used to unlock Brendan Rodgers men on Sunday – the Red Devils maintained control and kept their composure.

The atmosphere at Anfield was rancid; Liverpool supporters had their scarfs and banners aloft as they bellowed out the insufferable “You will never walk alone” anthem. Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao sat on the United bench, Van Gaal had done the wise thing; he named an unchanged side for probably the first time since he had taken charge of United. He opted not to disturb the team balance that had United revert to the slick attacking unit of past against Tottenham. Moving with verve, guile, steel, and pomp Manchester United were able to quiet the Anfield faithful early on. United kept possession for the large parts of the opening exchange, even the balls lofted up field found their mark. Mostly because the gravitational field from, Marouane Fellaini, the colossal Belgian with the mercurial chest kept sucking the ball in preventing it from being blocked off by Emre Can. Fellaini, a key piece of the puzzle for United this campaign has a chest even Optimus Prime would envy.

Concetrated red zones on the right image show Manchester United attacking Liverpool on both flanks of their back 3. Heat Map Image courtesy of WhoScored.com

It would be Fellaini who channeled the ball to the splendid Ander Herrera, the Spaniard had the quickness of movement and thought to lay a bunker splitting pass to