Louis van Gaal has revealed that he knew Liverpool's tactics in advance during Manchester United's 2-1 victory over the Reds at Anfield.
The victory has seen the 20-times English champions maintain the fourth spot with 59 points from 30 games. However, they have extended the lead with fifth place Liverpool by five points.
Juan Mata opened the scoring in the first quarter of the game before extending the lead in the 59th minute with a spectacular goal. Daniel Sturridge scored for Liverpool, but his lone strike was not sufficient for the Merseyside club to avoid a defeat.
United manager claimed his side played Liverpool "off the pitch" in the first half, which was the reason behind their dominance at Anfield.
"The first half was very good because I knew in advance that Liverpool would press us and they did, but we played them off the pitch in the first half. We scored a fantastic goal and we gave nothing away, so it was a superb first-half," Van Gaal explained.
Adam Lallana was replaced after the break by the Reds captain Steven Gerrard, who was playing his last clash against United in a Liverpool shirt. The midfielder was shown a straight red just seconds after the start of the second half for stamping on Ander Herrera.
The Old Trafford club were not able to emulate their first half display for the next 45 minutes. Despite having an extra man on the field, Van Gaal admitted that Gerrard's sending off did not help United and admitted his disappointment for not pressing Liverpool in the second half.
"So, I went in the dressing room and I gave all my compliments because I am so happy that I can give my compliments again. Then, in the second half, everything changed because of the red card," the United manager said.
"Then we are not playing like a team, we are running with the ball, unnecessary losses of the ball, we don't press the opponent with the ball and that was different in the first half, so that was not so good in the second half," Van Gaal added.