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Smash and grab United win over dominant Liverpool takes massive weight off LvG’s shoulder

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Manchester United narrowly beat Liverpool by one goal to nil at Anfield earlier today

The immensely competitive world of professional sport is always about bullets being dodged and individuals making the grade just by the skin of their teeth. Many professionals have been saved by a whisker but none have come as close as Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal. The Dutchman has nine lives it seems because here he is, still the coach of one of Europe’s biggest football clubs, almost a month after he was certain to be sacked.

Elimination from the Champions League, six weeks without winning a football match and a run of three League losses on the bounce saw the former Barcelona manager pushed to the brink of his reign at Manchester United. Three weeks on from then however, it looks as if the one-time Champions League winner has, just barely, turned things around.

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United skipper Wayne Rooney got the only goal of the game in the 78th-minute of the match as he smashed in Marouane Fellaini’s header which came off the woodwork

A win against Swansea City started the revival for United and another win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup saw it gather pace. A 3-3 draw against Newcastle United showed signs of the old United coming back even though their back four was noticeably leaky. LvG’s biggest achievement during this time though, was today’s win over Liverpool at Anfield. Derby matches act like kingmakers as they have the unmatchable ability to fast-track a player or manager to greatness. In Van Gaal’s case though, he’s actually been fast-tracked to safety with a narrow win over his side’s arch-rivals.

Manchester United may have beaten Liverpool on the night, but one point that cannot be ignored is that they were actually the poorer side on the day. To be fair to be both the teams, the game was a dull affair, especially during the first half. Wayne Rooney’s 78th-minute winner opened the game up, but other than that and the odd chance at either end, this game was way below the standard that these two teams had set for themselves over the years.

Liverpool totally bossed the game though with 54% possession compared to United’s 46% and a tally of 19 shots against United’s seven is proof enough that the home side were in fact the better side. In football, there’s only one stat that counts and Manchester United made their only shot on target during the entire game count. Thus, Louis Van Gaal walked away from Anfield with not just three points, but a massive feather in his cap.

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Roberto Firmino was Liverpool’s best player on the day as he looked to continue add to the two goals that he scored against Arsenal during the week

The former Holland national team manager has an outstanding record against Liverpool after winning all of his four meetings with them since moving to England. This win should really relieve the pressure that was on him because not only did they bag the bragging rights, but also moved to within two points of a Champions League place.

Football is a fickle game though and the monkey may well be taking up a position on his back if United’s next few results went awry but for the time being, there’s no one happier than Louis Van Gaal, who has defied the odds and resurrected his Manchester United career.

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