Premier League
Man UtdManchester United0LiverpoolLiverpool3

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Old Trafford
Steven Gerrard celebrates

Steven Gerrard scored two penalties and missed a third as Liverpool emphasised their title credentials with a resounding win over reigning Premier League champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In what was seen as the biggest test of their ability to claim their first crown since 1990, Liverpool passed the examination in emphatic fashion against an abject United to move to within four points of leaders Chelsea, with a game in hand.

Liverpool confidence high - Rodgers

Liverpool captain Gerrard demonstrated their superiority with penalties either side of the interval as Brendan Rodgers's side exerted almost complete domination over a home team looking in need of a drastic overhaul.

Gerrard missed another spot-kick after Daniel Sturridge went to ground under a Nemanja Vidic challenge - the United captain picking up his fourth red card against Liverpool in the process - but there was no stopping Luis Suarez as he added a third.

At this stage last season there was a 29-point gap between these sides in United's favour as they beat Rodgers's team 2-1 at home.

But Liverpool's dominance here underscored the scale of the turnaround, their improvement and the collapse in fortunes at Old Trafford since manager David Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson.

Moyes must now pick up a bedraggled team before Wednesday's return Champions League game against Olympiakos, where they need to overcome a 2-0 deficit from the first leg in Greece.

For Liverpool, Rodgers and their exultant supporters there are no such concerns. The Reds are flying high with a self-belief that marks them out as having a real chance to win the title.

And with Manchester City and Chelsea, who lost to Aston Villa on Saturday, still to visit Anfield, Liverpool have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to claim the prize that was once almost a permanent presence in their trophy room.

Liverpool's intentions - not to mention the confidence now surging through this team - were clear inside two minutes as Sturridge found space inside the area from Jordan Henderson's pass but could not find the target.

They had claims for a penalty ignored when Marouane Fellaini tangled clumsily with Suarez. The Uruguayan stayed on his feet and was left a picture of frustration when the spot-kick was not awarded.

Luis Suarez celebrates after the full-time whistle
Luis Suarez celebrates after the full-time whistle

Sturridge squandered another opportunity for Liverpool, but that was a further sign of a sharpness and threat that was in complete contrast to a pedestrian United.

The goal Liverpool deserved finally arrived 10 minutes before the break when Rafael, who had just been booked for a wild challenge on Gerrard, clearly handled in the area. It was a straightforward decision for referee Mark Clattenburg and Gerrard scored the spot-kick with ease in front of the Stretford End.

United were unable to get their main attacking players into the game but they were given hope by Wayne Rooney's rising drive which was turned away by the diving Simon Mignolet.

All the plans Moyes will have laid out during the interval were sabotaged within moments of the restart as Liverpool were awarded a second penalty after Phil Jones bundled Joe Allen to the ground. Once more Gerrard stepped forward and once more he demonstrated his expertise from the spot.

Liverpool had been virtually untroubled but a rare ragged passage of play persuaded Rodgers to introduce Philippe Coutinho for Raheem Sterling with 19 minutes remaining.

United, in a move that was long overdue, made a change of their own with 15 minutes left, sending on Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley for Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj.

Remarkably, Liverpool were awarded a third penalty when Sturridge went down with Vidic in close proximity.

Top four a long way off - Moyes

The Serbian defender remonstrated with the Liverpool striker, who he clearly felt had dived, and his frustration increased as he received a second yellow card and made his way off disconsolately.

Gerrard, with the rarest of opportunities, could not make it a hat-trick of successful penalties by a visiting side at Old Trafford, striking his effort against the base of the post.

Liverpool were taking full advantage of their numerical supremacy and it was no surprise when Suarez ran unhindered into the area to score, having been denied by a magnificent save from De Gea moments earlier.

United's fans chanted in defiance as the final whistle approached - but they were forced to accept an ominous message about their own shortcomings and Liverpool's growing stature as Clattenburg blew.

Man Utd reaction:

Liverpool reaction:

Visit the BBC Sport Facebookexternal-link page for a gallery of the best pictures from Sunday's Premier League matches.

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 2da SilvaBooked at 32mins
  • 4Jones
  • 15VidicBooked at 77mins
  • 3Evra
  • 31FellainiSubstituted forCleverleyat 76'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 8MataSubstituted forFerdinandat 87'minutes
  • 10Rooney
  • 44JanuzajSubstituted forWelbeckat 76'minutes
  • 20van Persie

Substitutes

  • 5Ferdinand
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 18Young
  • 19Welbeck
  • 23Cleverley
  • 25A Valencia
  • 26Kagawa

Liverpool

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 22Mignolet
  • 2Johnson
  • 37SkrtelBooked at 54mins
  • 5Agger
  • 38FlanaganBooked at 31mins
  • 8GerrardBooked at 37minsSubstituted forLeivaat 87'minutes
  • 14Henderson
  • 24Allen
  • 31SterlingSubstituted forCoutinhoat 72'minutes
  • 15SturridgeBooked at 84minsSubstituted forIago Aspasat 90+2'minutes
  • 7Suárez

Substitutes

  • 1Jones
  • 9Iago Aspas
  • 10Coutinho
  • 12Moses
  • 17Sakho
  • 20Cissokho
  • 21Leiva
Referee:
Mark Clattenburg
Attendance:
75,225

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home13
Away18
Shots on Target
Home1
Away7
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home13
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 0, Liverpool 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 0, Liverpool 3.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Luis Suarez (Liverpool).

  4. Post update

    Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

  7. Post update

    Danny Welbeck (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Iago Aspas replaces Daniel Sturridge.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

  10. Post update

    Rafael (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jon Flanagan.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Rio Ferdinand replaces Juan Mata.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Steven Gerrard.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).

  16. Post update

    Joe Allen (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 0, Liverpool 3. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Daniel Sturridge.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by David de Gea.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Glen Johnson.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea30206456233366
2Liverpool29195576354162
3Arsenal29195553282562
4Man City27193571274460
5Tottenham3016593738-153
6Everton28149540281251
7Man Utd29146946341248
8Southampton3012994337645
9Newcastle29134123740-343
10Aston Villa2997133238-634
11Stoke30810123244-1234
12West Ham2987143238-631
13Hull2986153037-730
14Swansea2978143843-529
15Norwich3078152448-2429
16West Brom29513113343-1028
17Crystal Palace2984171938-1928
18Sunderland2767142642-1625
19Cardiff3067172352-2925
20Fulham3073203065-3524
View full Premier League table

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