Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1 in the race for Champions League spot to open a five point gap between them and Liverpool in what Manchester United manager now refers to as a rat race.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off 38 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute in a match where Juan Mata produced a master class performance as Manchester United retained their grip on a top-four place with the vital win at Anfield.
Juan Mata deservedly scored early in the first half which United completely dominated and Gerrard was introduced at the beginning of second half in place of Adam Lallana to fire up his under performing team but instead got sent off following up a thunderous tackle on Mata and the a reckless reaction to a challenge with a clear stamp on Ander Herrera.
United then too full advantage as Mata added a second with an acrobatic scissor-kick volley with Van Gaal’s side far superior in all areas before Daniel Sturridge scored a consolation for the home side with a near post finish that added drama at the closing stages to a highly entertaining match .
Wayne Rooney missed a penalty in the dying seconds after Simon Mignolet saved his low shot. But there was still time for Skrtel to stamp on De Gea to enrage the Spanish goalkeeper.