|Morgan Schneiderlin celebrates the winner with Wayne Rooney|
The subject Wayne Rooney will always divide opinion among Manchester United fans. If it is not his form, it will at least be that he twice tried to leave the club, once for our bitter rivals down the road. For the ultra-fans, derbies and rivalry remains a personal subject. And therefore Wayne will have gone some way to endearing himself to more of those he had lost when he supremely lashed one in at the Anfield Road end, right infront of the 3000 away fans.
''The goal itself was a glorious little moment of unexpected narrative redemption towards the end of a constipated, rambling match during which the first hour United once again performed with all the unbound attacking vim of a quietly expiring diplodocus''
---Barney Ronay for the Guardian 18th Janaury 2016
There was little about the game that was different from what Louis van Gaal has treated us to this season so far. United were ponderous in possession and fruitless in attack, so much so that the club were still looking for their first shot at Simon Mingnolet with 15 minutes left on the clock. Indeed, nothing about the match report would fall into the category of what we've not been seeing from United this season.
At Anfield though, the performance can always be excused if the result is right. Yesterday was one such occasion. Having thrown away the points at Newcastle United in midweek, United were in danger of falling further away from the Champions League reckoning.
Perhaps it made it sweeter that yet again we dented Liverpool's hopes of making it into the elite competition. For United though, the result provided the 89878767th opportunity this season to get back in the title race. Yes. The inconsistency of everyone in the league this season means that a 7 point gap from the top is not by any means insurmountable. What that will require though is a level of consistency that we've not yet seen from United this season. It's what kills the hope of a late title title bid.
It therefore remains that United's target is a place in the top four. Spurs have so far proved to be be more adept at nicking points more consistently than we've been. Until there's daylight in our favour between us and them, we're not yet in the position to be looking further than that immediate target.
|United players salute the ever brilliant away following at the final whistle|
Individually, David De Gea pulled out one of his more accomplished displays on the night, deflecting everything (and there was plenty) thrown at him. He was, in many people's eyes the Man of the Match. Often times in games such as yesterday's you need to simply keep in the game for as long as possible to give yourself a chance. David kept United in the game, long enough, in fact to be able to roll the dice and clinch it.
Louis van Gaal has been thrown under the bus by the media and fans alike for his decision to keep playing Wayne Rooney despite the striker's poor return in front of goal this season. There was always the possibility that the captain would come good if only because of the law of averages. At times, he was simply so bad that it couldn't possibly get worse. That it has happened is just as well for the club and the manager whose decision will hopefully go on to be vindicated.
Wayne has had this habit of scoring in bursts over a season. At four in four, here's to the health of this particular run for as long as possible. It means that from a position of oblivion, the captain has given himself a real chance at breaking Sir Bobby Charlton's all time record of 249 goals this season. At a time when he's fast approaching the end, it would be some feat!
It's now 4 wins in 4 straight games for Louis van Gaal against Liverpool since he arrived at the club. If there's one thing he's got going for him at the club, it's that record against the Scousers! It helps fans' misery through this dark period that despite our troubles, we remain (statistically at least) better than the Dippers.