Manchester United vs. Liverpool: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Manchester United vs. Liverpool: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool

Two Steven Gerrard penalties and a late Luis Suarez strike for Liverpool put Manchester United to the sword at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The 3-0 win opened up a 14-point gap for the Reds on their Old Trafford rivals, and it maintained their Premier League title challenge by cutting the gap on leaders Chelsea to four points.

Gerrard opened the scoring for the Merseysiders in the 34th minute after Rafael handled inside the penalty box. Surprisingly, the United defender stayed on the pitch when he was not shown a second yellow card, having received one moments earlier.

The Liverpool captain was again successful from the spot seconds after the restart when Jordan Henderson was felled by Phil Jones, but he missed a hat-trick later in the half when he struck the post with a third penalty.

However, Suarez was on hand to ensure a three-goal advantage six minutes before the end.

But Liverpool were helped in their victory by another poor United display this season, with only Wayne Rooney and Rafael appearing to show any desire in the 90 minutes.

United were simply outclassed by their long-term adversaries. 

Daniel Sturridge almost gave Liverpool a third-minute lead, but he blazed wide from a great Henderson through ball.

There were calls for a Liverpool penalty three minutes later when Suarez was challenged by Jones, but the appeals were waved away. The striker had stayed on his feet after being clipped by Marouane Fellaini earlier in the move.

It was a feisty opening to the game, with Liverpool in the ascendancy in the early stages.

After the visitors' busy opening period, United began to find their feet in the game with Wayne Rooney looking for the ball wherever possible. However, clear-cut chances remained at a premium.

Sturridge snatched at a 20th-minute chance after being fed in the area by Suarez's excellent through ball and then in the 24th minute, Joe Allen had a half-chance with a snapshot after the ball bounced away from Nemanja Vidic, but David De Gea saved comfortably.

Jon Flanagan picked up a caution in the 31st minute for a foul, while Rafael entered the referee's notebook less than a minute later for hauling down Steven Gerrard.

Two minutes after, the United defender was lucky to remain on the pitch when Liverpool were awarded a penalty for his handball inside the area.

Gerrard stepped up to the spot and dispatched the ball past De Gea to open the scoring in the 34th minute.

Gerrard blotted his copybook with a booking shortly after the goal for a foul but few Liverpool supporters were complaining. 

In the final minute of the half, Rooney conjured up United's best chance. After a surging run from Rafael down the right, the striker side-footed the ball with precision from the edge of the area, but Simon Mignolet palmed the effort away.

Less than 30 seconds into the second period and Liverpool were two goals up, courtesy of another Gerrard penalty.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Jones was the guilty party, bringing down Allen after Henderson's clever chipped ball into the box. 

Martin Skrtel was shown a yellow card in the 54th minute for a foul on Rooney on the edge of the area, but Liverpool remained in control.

Adnan Januzaj forced a corner a minute later, which Juan Mata delivered into the six-yard area, but Vidic headed over. Daniel Agger, though, needed treatment after colliding with the Serb.

Rafael was again on the verge of a second yellow card for a 71st-minute foul, but Mark Clattenburg booked Vidic instead for an earlier challenge on Suarez. 

Gerrard was gifted acres of space outside the area to attempt his hat-trick, but his floated shot clipped a United defender and went wide.

Robin van Persie had endured a woeful game and his misplaced header from a Rooney cross summed up his day.

United manager David Moyes made a double switch in the 76th minute with Fellaini and Januzaj being replaced by Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck.

A minute later, Liverpool had a third penalty and United were down to 10 men after Vidic was dismissed for a foul on Sturridge. This time, though, Gerrard struck the post to give the home fans a slender moment of joy in the game.

Moments after, Suarez cleverly played the ball over Jones before unleashing a drive at goal, but De Gea saved brilliantly to his right.

In the 84th minute, though, Suarez did get on to the scoresheet. A mishit Sturridge effort from the edge of the area landed in the path of the Liverpool striker, and he slotted the ball past De Gea to make it 3-0. 

 

Selected player ratings

Luis Suarez: A

Jon Super/Associated Press

Another dangerous display for the Liverpool striker, and he deserves full credit for remaining on his feet when tackled from behind by Fellaini inside the area earlier on in the game

 

Wayne Rooney: A-

Always looking for the ball, the Manchester United striker was let down by a lacklustre performance from his team-mates in the opening period. Forced Mignolet into one good save before the interval.

 

Rafael: B+

Fortunate to remain on the pitch when his handball swiftly followed a yellow card, but he chased down the right in a bid to force something for United.

 

Steven Gerrard: A

Jon Super/Associated Press

Still proving to be the big-game player Liverpool need as they chase the Premier League title. Two coolly taken penalties coupled with a captain's display at Old Trafford.

 

Jordan Henderson: A+

Sir Alex Ferguson once criticised the midfielder, but Henderson's passing style and pressing completely overran United on Sunday. A tremendous display to bury the former United manager's words.

 

What's next?

Manchester United will now turn their attention to the battle to stay in the Champions League when they aim to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Olympiacos at Old Trafford on Wednesday in their last 16 tie.

Liverpool have just the Premier League to concentrate on, and they travel to Cardiff City next Saturday.

 

Post-match reaction

 

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