Match ends, Manchester United 3, Liverpool 1.
Manchester United's £36m teenager Anthony Martial marked his debut in sensational fashion with a stunning goal as Liverpool were beaten at Old Trafford.
Christian Benteke's equally stunning overhead kick had thrown Liverpool a lifeline after Daley Blind's crisp finish and Ander Herrera's penalty had put Louis van Gaal's side in control.
It was the signal for Martial, the 19-year-old signed from Monaco on deadline day, to make himself an instant hero after coming on as a second-half substitute, slaloming between Nathaniel Clyne and Martin Skrtel before a composed finish in front of the Stretford End.
United keeper David De Gea, making his first appearance of the season after signing a new four-year contract following the breakdown of his move to Real Madrid, demonstrated his worth with fine saves from Danny Ings and Jordon Ibe.
Liverpool, however, were uncharacteristically tame for a fixture against their fierce rivals and the win lifts United into second place in the Premier League table behind Manchester City.
An Old Trafford hero is born
Old Trafford gave a rousing welcome to the world's most expensive teenager when Martial replaced Juan Mata after 65 minutes - and he electrified the "Theatre Of Dreams" 21 minutes later with a moment of sheer brilliance.
Martial had barely touched the ball but came alive with a run that took him between Clyne and Skrtel, the latter left twisting and turning hopelessly in the youngster's wake as he tucked a composed low finish past Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.
It was the impetuosity of youth but also the sign of quality. The comparisons have been made with fellow countryman Thierry Henry - and it was a goal the great man would have been happy to claim as his own.
Pressure mounting on Rodgers?
It seems ludicrous to talk in such terms after only five league games but Liverpool's promising start has been overshadowed by two poor performances in defeat against West Ham United and now Manchester United.
Even in times of struggle under manager Brendan Rodgers, his teams have been characterised by a boldness and determination to attack and be creative.
Here Liverpool effectively stood behind the door, timid and barely making a tackle of any meaning, until Blind put United ahead early in the second half.
It was all a far cry from March 2014 when Liverpool came here with Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard in their line-up and blew United away 3-0, before almost winning the title.
Tough start hurting Liverpool
Rodgers knew he had to make a fast start after being handed the backing of owners Fenway Sports Group this summer following such a poor season last time out - and in his defence, the fixture list has not been his friend by handing Liverpool a tough early schedule.
He was also without influential figures here, such as captain Jordan Henderson and the suspended Philippe Coutinho, while also attempting to bed new signings into his team.
Christian Benteke showed his quality at £32.5m but Roberto Firmino, a £29m capture from Hoffenheim, has yet to come anywhere near the pace of the Premier League.
Sadly for Rodgers, he was always going to be under close scrutiny and a glance at social media throughout the game saw plenty of Liverpool fans making reference to the currently unemployed former Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp.
Surely five league games in is too soon for owners to start thinking about pulling the plug on a manager they supported heavily in the transfer market this summer - but the pressure to get results is clear with the Anfield club without a victory in three, having won their opening two games.
David De Gea shows his class
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea got a predictably rapturous reception as he made his first appearance of the season after signing a new four-year contract following the breakdown of his proposed move to Real Madrid.
And he showed his class with crucial saves from Danny Ings and Jordon Ibe, although one piece of misplaced footwork almost caused problems for United. De Gea gives United real presence, quality and a formidable barrier in goal.
This has been a good end to the week for United and Van Gaal. They have one of the world's best keepers back and a victory over Liverpool is never bad for Old Trafford morale.
Man of the match: Daley Blind
Post match reaction
Manchester United United boss Louis Van Gaal: When you make a goal like Anthony you cannot wish for more, I think. A lot of players have made a debut and scored with me so it's a good signal.
"We played better in the first half. We had far more control, but we didn't create much, that is why I changed Memphis - to improve that last pass."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "I thought in the first half we defended well but had nowhere near enough quality and composure on the ball.
"We were disappointed with a couple of the goals. I never thought the free kick was a free kick. Penalty, I think Herrera has done well, young Joe Gomez will learn he has to stay on his feet."
The stats you need to know
- Manchester United have lost just one of their previous 11 leagues games at Old Trafford.
- Liverpool have only won one of their last eight away games in the Premier League.
- De Gea has not kept a clean sheet in any of his last eight full 90-minute appearances in the Premier League.
- Mata has scored or assisted three of the four normal Premier League goals United have scored this season.
- Martial scored with his first ever shot in the Premier League.
- Benteke has scored in his last three Premier League appearances against Manchester United, but has lost two and drawn one of those three games.
- Liverpool and Manchester United are the only Premier League sides to play today and not to hit a shot on target in the first half.
Manchester United travel to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League group stages on Tuesday, while Liverpool travel to Bordeaux in the Europa League on Thursday.
- 1de Gea
- 36DarmianBooked at 73mins
- 16CarrickSubstituted forSchneiderlinat 72'minutes
- 8MataSubstituted forMartialat 65'minutes
- 7DepaySubstituted forYoungat 45'minutes
- 25A Valencia
- 2ClyneBooked at 48mins
- 7MilnerBooked at 75mins
- 21LeivaSubstituted forMorenoat 87'minutes
- 11FirminoSubstituted forIbeat 65'minutes
- 28IngsSubstituted forOrigiat 74'minutes
- 4K Touré
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Liverpool 1.
Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).
Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Liverpool. Alberto Moreno replaces Lucas Leiva.
Goal! Manchester United 3, Liverpool 1. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ashley Young.
Goal! Manchester United 2, Liverpool 1. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal following a corner.
Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by David de Gea.
Attempt saved. Jordon Ibe (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Divock Origi.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dejan Lovren (Liverpool).
Attempt blocked. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by James Milner with a cross.
James Milner (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ashley Young (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).
Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Danny Ings.
Attempt missed. James Milner (Liverpool) right footed shot from long range on the left is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.
Matteo Darmian (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Matteo Darmian (Manchester United).