Liverpool 1 Manchester U 2

Fourth po­si­tioned Man­chester Uni­ted fol­lowed up a 3-0 Pre­mier Lea­gue suc­cess ag­ainst Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at Old Traf­ford wi­th a tough fou­ght 2-1 tri­umph over fifth pla­ced Liver­pool at An­field. Ju­an Manuel Ma­ta Gar­cia, com­monly known as Ju­an Ma­ta, notched the fir­st goal of the con­test when he was set up by fel­low mid­fielder An­der Her­rera in the 14th min­ute of the der­by mat­ch be­tween the two Pre­miership gi­ants. Ad­am Lal­lana was ev­entually re­placed by Ste­ven Ger­rard at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond pe­riod, but the pre­vi­ous Eng­land skip­per was giv­en the red card less than a min­ute la­ter for a ri­dicu­lous chal­lenge on An­der Her­rera. Ju­an Ma­ta then doubled the lead for Louis van Gaal´s Old Traf­ford si­de as he bril­liantly con­ver­ted a pass from An­gel Di Mar­ia al­most on the hour ma­rk, be­fore Dan­iel Stur­ridge re­duced the de­fi­cit for The An­field­ers wi­th some twenty min­utes left of the ga­me in Liver­pool. There was even more dra­ma when the vis­it­ing te­am from Man­chester were han­ded a pen­alty by mat­ch of­fi­cial Mar­tin Atkin­son af­ter Ger­many U21 in­ter­na­tion­al Emre Can had fouled Hol­land play­er Da­ley Bli­nd in­side the eight­een-yard-box in stop­page time, but Way­ne Rooney´s sub­sequent spot kick was su­perbly saved by Bel­gian in­ter­na­tion­al cus­todi­an Si­mon Mignolet.

The res­ult was with­out doubt a per­son­al tri­umph for Ju­an Ma­ta, who­se two goals made him Man of the Mat­ch. The Span­iard, who began his pro­fes­sion­al foot­balling ca­reer wi­th Primera Di­vi­sion club Va­lencia, was lured to Man­chester Uni­ted from Chel­sea by for­mer man­ager Da­vid Moyes in the middle of the 2013-14 sea­son, and was giv­en his Pre­mier Lea­gue de­but in a 2-0 vic­tory ag­ainst Car­diff City at Old Traf­ford on the 28th of Jan­uary 2014. Ma­ta fol­lowed up by scor­ing his fir­st goal for The Man­chester Reds in a 4–1 win over As­ton Vil­la at The Theatre of Dreams on the 29th of Mar­ch, and went on to re­gister his fir­st brace for his new em­ploy­ers in a 4-0 trash­ing of New­castle Uni­ted at St James´s Park on the 5th of April. The 2-1 away vic­tory over Liver­pool meant that Man­chester Uni­ted re­mained in fourth po­s­i­tion in the Pre­mier Lea­gue ta­ble, how­ever, five points ahead of the Mer­sey­siders. Liver­pool Te­am: Si­mon Migno­let, Al­berto Moreno, Ma­madou Sakho, Mar­tin Skr­tel, Emre Can, Jor­dan Hen­derson, Joe Al­len, Phil­ippe Cou­tinho, Ad­am Lal­lana, Ra­heem Ster­ling, Dan­iel Stur­ridge. Sub­stitutes: Glen John­son, Lu­cas Leiva, Kolo Tou­re, Ste­ven Ger­rard, Rick­ie Lam­bert, Mario Balo­telli, Brad­ley Jones. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Da­vid de Gea, Phil Jones, Da­ley Bli­nd, Chris Small­ing, Va­lencia, Mi­chael Car­rick, An­der Her­rera, Ash­ley Young, Mar­ou­ane Fel­laini, Ju­an Ma­ta, Way­ne Roo­ney. Sub­stitutes: An­gel Di Mar­ia, Ra­fael, Mar­cos Rojo, Ad­nan Janu­zaj, An­dreas Pe­reira, Ra­damel Fal­cao, Vic­tor Valdes.

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