Man United beat Liverpool, now 10 points clear
LONDON – Manchester United went 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, after a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Goals from Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic gave United a 2-0 lead before Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge pulled one back for the visitors in this latest clash between England’s two most successful clubs.
Reigning champions Manchester City, currently in second place, will reduce the gap on local rivals United to seven points if they win away to Arsenal in a match kicking off at 4pm local time (1600GMT) on Sunday.
When Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford in 1986 he said his aim was to “knock Liverpool off their perch”.
In his time at United the Scot has seen the club eclipse Liverpool’s previous English record of 18 domestic titles with a 19th triumph in 2011 and this win left Ferguson’s men a huge 24 points in front of their north-west rivals.
However, Ferguson told the BBC: “It obviously doesn’t matter when you play Liverpool, it is a big game and I hope it’s an important result.
“We were fantastic until their goal, which inspired them. They made a fist of it in last half hour and it made it an engrossing game.
“It was as good a performance as we’ve produced for a while. When you play Liverpool you have to be at your best form to win and we were.”
Van Persie gave United a 19th minute lead when he swept in Patrice Evra’s cross from eight yards out.
It was the Dutch striker’s 17th Premier League goal this term, and 21st in all competitions, since he arrived at Old Trafford in a £24 million ($39 million) pre-season move from top-flight rivals Arsenal.
United made it 2-0 nine minutes after half-time when full-back Evra’s header from van Persie’s free-kick deflected in off centre-half Vidic.
But three minutes later Sturridge, on at the start of the second half for Lucas Leiva, marked his Premier League debut for Liverpool with a goal when he followed up the rebound after David de Gea saved skipper Steven Gerrard’s shot from outside the box.
It was Sturridge’s second goal in as many games for Liverpool following his move from European champions champions Chelsea after he was on target in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Mansfield last weekend.
However, Sturridge failed to make the most of two more chances and United held on for victory.
Liverpool remained eighth in the table and manager Brendan Rodgers praised his team’s resilience.
“In the second half, after we conceded the goal, we could have given up the fight but that is nature of the group,” Rodgers said. “In the end, I thought we maybe deserved something from the game.
“In the first half we never threatened enough. There wasn’t too many chances either way and the ones they had we presented to them. He (Daniel Sturridge) was terrific when he came on and we were much better in the second half.”