Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thought his side deserved their narrow 1-0 victory at Liverpool on Sunday.
Carlos Tevez's goal just before half-time proved to be decisive in a tight Anfield clash.
Ferguson was delighted with the success, saying: "It was a massive win.
"I said beforehand, the games between the top sides would be significant and this is definitely one.
"It was very frenetic, a typical Liverpool-Man United game but I certainly don't regard it as a smash-and-grab victory at all.
"In matches like that, when there are so many free-kicks, it is hard for either team to play any flowing football. But when we did, I thought we were the better team.
"I always think it is important to be up there once you get through the Christmas period.
"If we are around the top on January 1 we will have an outstanding chance of winning the league and we will also know who our challengers are going to be."