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Published: 18:59 | 17/1/16

Van Gaal enjoys ‘big step’ forward

United boss delights in Anfield win

Louis Van Gaal was thrilled with what he feels was a highly significant victory for Manchester United over Liverpool.

With a little over 10 minutes of Sunday's clash at Anfield remaining, Wayne Rooney hammered home the only of a game that Liverpool had largely bossed.

The derby victory lifted Manchester United up to fifth place in the Premier League, two points behind Tottenham Hotspur and six clear of the Reds, who remain in ninth.

"When you beat Liverpool, it is good for the fans and for the table, as our competitors also lose points,” van Gaal told Sky Sports. “It is a big step in a good direction, and I am very happy.

“In the first half, we didn’t keep the ball (but) we survived.

"In the second half, we played much better, kept the ball better and created chances, and Wayne Rooney makes the fantastic goal again.

“I don’t think (United goalkeeper) David de Gea has done very much - two or three balls he has to stop, and a goalkeeper has to do that. He is playing very good but you cannot say he was a fantastic, marvellous goalkeeper today.

“We have played against Newcastle (in a 3-3 draw) and gave away two leads, and now we have done the things we have trained and discussed, so that is the most precious aspect of the game today.

“We won, and we have won a lot of games in 2016 now and have not lost yet.”

Despite the Dutchman’s view of proceedings, Liverpool certainly created several openings - Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Emre Can were amongst those to fail to make the most of opportunities.

"I didn't see too many chances for Manchester United, and we didn't take ours,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said to BBC Sport. “It is frustrating - we lost a game that we should not have lost."

Rooney struck home his goal after Marouane Fellaini had headed an effort off the crossbar from a Juan Mata cross, with a corner kick having been played short to the Spaniard.

"The goal was to defend and we didn't do it,” Klopp added. “That is our responsibility. We have to defend set-pieces better.

"We did really well creating the chances, but there were a lot of situations where we could have created more chances and didn't. There were a lot of things but we lost in a derby against Manchester United, so I can't be very positive at this moment so soon after the game."

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