Manchester United ran out 3-0 winners against a Liverpool side that created plenty of chances but lacked conviction during Sunday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
Liverpool started brightly, with Steven Gerrard’s early corner falling to the feet of Martin Skrtel, who toe-poked the ball straight at the feet of David de Gea.
For the best part of the opening 10 minutes, United were unable to get out of their own defensive half.
However, the crucial moment of the game came when Liverpool should have opened the scoring. Raheem Sterling ran in behind the United defence and forced a crucial save from De Gea. Just 25 seconds later, at the other end, Wayne Rooney had put United into an undeserved lead as Antonio Valencia bombed down the right wing, beating Alberto Moreno with his pace and skill before picking out the onrushing Rooney.
The striker, playing deep and left unmarked by the sloppy Philippe Coutinho, ran into the box from midfield and side-footed the ball home with a ruthless finish.
Moreno had a chance to make amends after 35 minutes when he ran in behind Valencia, but his first touch was desperately poor and the United man was allowed to nip back in to put the ball out for a corner.
With United starting to exert more and more influence on the game, it looked like only a matter of time before Liverpool conceded again. Juan Mata, in a clearly offside position, headed home after a flick-on from Robin van Persie.
The defending from Skrtel was woeful, but Liverpool were rightly incensed that the goal stood considering how far offside the diminutive Mata was standing.
Sterling had another chance to get the better of De Gea as the game restarted after half time, and although it looked easier for the Liverpool man to score than to miss, De Gea stayed on his feet and won the battle once more.
Liverpool were then presented with another cruel replay of the opening goal, De Gea pulling off a fine save before a goal at the other end. This time, it was substitute Mario Balotelli who forced the Spaniard to touch his shot onto the woodwork.
Just four minutes later, Van Persie made Liverpool pay, finishing clinically after a pass from Mata. The result gives United their sixth win in a row while Liverpool still with plenty of questions to answer.