Mata latched onto Ander Herrera’s through ball to open the scoring before acrobatically volleying in to secure a huge three points for Man United.
The Spaniard’s performance was particularly satisfying for fans given the fact he has spent a number of weeks on the substitute’s bench this season.
Van Gaal was full of praise for Mata and offered some explanation as to why the 26-year-old had been excluded from the starting XI.
Speaking about Mata, van Gaal said: “Juan Mata was very good. He played always good in my opinion with me so he’s one of my most constantly playing players but sometimes you also need balance in your team and you have to select other players. Now he has played very well and did this position very well.
“It’s an amazing result for the fans, because we’ve beaten Liverpool three times this season. We now have a gap from positions five, six and seven which is very important.”
Mata’s display against Liverpool has given van Gaal a huge headache when it comes to his team selection in future games.
Equally as impressive against Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month, it appears Mata may keep Angel di Maria out of the team. Di Maria came to the club in a big money move with a world-class reputation but Mata has kept his head down, worked hard and deserves his moment in the limelight.