Louis van Gaal vindicated by superb first half performance by Man United at Liverpool

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Louis van Gaal has called for time for his philosophy to take shape at Manchester United, and by the looks of things it may finally be paying off in a big game as his side dominate Liverpool in this first half at Anfield.

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After an early lead from Juan Mata, United remained in control for almost the entire half, enjoying the lion’s share of the possession but also showing far more of a cutting edge than they have in some games this season.

Liverpool, by contrast, have been unable to show the great passing game and attacking form that they have so much in recent games, setting this fight for a top four place up very nicely for the end of the season.

What van Gaal must think about now, however, is his personnel. Mata again has been superb, as he was in the return fixture at Old Trafford in December – why has he not been more of a regular? And what does his improved form mean for Angel Di Maria, who has only made the bench this afternoon?

It’s clear United need the right players to make van Gaal’s game work, and although we have only seen glimpses of it this season, it usually seems to coincide with Mata being on the pitch. Has the Spaniard confirmed his status as one of the team’s most important players with this first half performance?

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