Manchester United's Juan Mata hasn't experienced the most fruitful of seasons under Louis van Gaal, but the Old Trafford favourite continues to give the fans a reason to cheer whenever given the opportunity to do so. Few can fault the Spaniard's ability and United fans will have been delighted to see his name on the team-sheet prior to kick-off at Anfield.
Making just his second start since the beginning of the New Year, Mata responded with supreme confidence. Following on from an impressive display last time out against Tottenham, he continued his fine form with arguably his best performance since making his big-money move from Chelsea.
Mata's goals either side of half-time - the second of which was mesmerising - put the Red Devils in control, with Anfield favourite Steven Gerrard aiding their cause as he found himself sent-off less than a minute after appearing as a half-time substitute. The 10 men of Liverpool struck back through Daniel Sturridge, but Mata's earlier efforts proved enough to secure an invaluable three points for the visitors.
|Team||Goals||Shots||Touches||Pass Accuracy (%)||Passes||Dribbles||Fouls Won||Interceptions||Mins Played|
|Juan Mata||Man Utd||2||2||93||92||73||3||2||4||90|
The Spaniard's dominance at Anfield is represented by the Opta stats above. He controlled possession for the visitors with a match-best 91 touches, while he completed 91.8% of his total attempted passes - a success rate only bettered by Antonio Valencia. His link-up play with Ander Herrera down the right-hand side of midfield has been impressive throughout the club's most recent run of form.
He proved as clinical as ever in the final third, with his two world class strikes taking him to seven goals for the season. Having scored from his only attempts on target, and only his eighth and ninth of the season, statistically he is now the most dangerous attacker in the Premier League - even more so that Diego Costa, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero.
Mata's performances in recent weeks have made him an almost invaluable asset to Louis van Gaal and Manchester United. Despite experiencing very little game time throughout the season, he has continued to show his love and commitment to the club with a string of outstanding performances. It's hard to see him not featuring throughout the remainder of the campaign.