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The Liverpool defender believes his side had the Red Devils on the back foot in Sunday's clash, even saying they "ate" their opponents, but ultimately ended up losing the contest

Manchester United’s unlikely victory at Anfield appeared to have been prompted by a half-time dressing down, according to Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho.

The home side made a strong start to the match and were unlucky to go into the break with the scores level given that United failed to muster a single shot on target – their first of the match produced Wayne Rooney’s late winning goal.

But despite the ecstasy at the final whistle, United’s players had spent half-time arguing with each other in the dressing room, with Sakho saying Liverpool’s first-half display had left their opponents rattled.

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“United were lucky today and they know it,” the French centre-back told TV channel Canal+ after the match. “We could hear them shouting in the dressing room at half-time. We ate them.”

The result leaves Liverpool in ninth place in the Premier League table, eight points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and six behind United.

Louis van Gaal has now masterminded four straight victories over the Merseysiders, with his somewhat derided decision to field Marouane Fellaini proving crucial as the Belgian played a key role in the winning goal.