Premier League
Man UtdManchester United3LiverpoolLiverpool0

Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Old Trafford
Wayne Rooney, Man Utd
Wayne Rooney has scored nine goals in his last eight league appearances at Old Trafford

Clinical Manchester United increased the pressure on Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers as they capitalised on some poor defending to run out comfortable victors at Old Trafford.

Rodgers - who dropped struggling goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for Brad Jones - can point to a succession of brilliant saves from United's David De Gea and a controversial second goal from Juan Mata as significant factors in defeat.

This, however, will do little to ease the growing concerns for Rodgers and Liverpool, with the memory of their thrilling 3-0 win here in March - in a sequence that almost took them to their first title in 24 years - seeming an age away.

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United captain Wayne Rooney gave them an early lead and Liverpool had every right to feel aggrieved when Mata headed in from a clearly offside position to take the game away from them just before half-time.

Even before United took the lead, De Gea made an important save from Raheem Sterling, denying the England youngster on four occasions as well as producing three vital contributions to stop Liverpool substitute Mario Balotelli getting his first Premier League goal for the club.

Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool: David De Gea praised by Louis van Gaal

Robin van Persie's third for United at the end of a lightning counter-attack only added to Liverpool's pain and gave the scoreline a lopsided look given the amount of work done by De Gea.

United's sixth successive league win continued United's resurgence under manager Louis van Gaal and put Liverpool's decline since they came so close to winning the Premier League into even sharper relief. Liverpool now trail third-placed United by 10 points.

Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, intend to give Rodgers until the end of the season at least to turn matters around given the credit he still has after last season, but after a miserable Champions League campaign was confirmed by their exit at the group stage following the midweek draw with Basel, these are crucial days for the northern Irishman.

Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool: Rodgers frustrated by 'poor' mistakes

He now faces a huge seven days with a Capital One Cup quarter-final at Championship leaders Bournemouth on Wednesday before Arsenal visit Anfield next weekend.

The reshuffled team sent out at Old Trafford by Rodgers gave Liverpool and their manager cause for optimism in an energetic early spell but the momentum shifted crucially in the 13th minute as De Gea saved from Sterling at one end and Rooney scored at the other.

In the space of 25 seconds, Liverpool should have taken the lead but then found themselves behind as Antonio Valencia nutmegged Joe Allen and pulled the ball back for Rooney, who scored with Jones diving in the wrong direction.

De Gea thwarted Sterling - utilised as a lone striker - once more before United doubled their lead in controversial fashion five minutes before half-time.

Mata was clearly offside when he headed in after Van Persie got a slight touch to Ashley Young's cross. There was daylight between Mata and the last Liverpool defender, so it can only be assumed linesman Mike Mullarkey did not believe Van Persie got a touch.

Juan Mata, Man Utd
Juan Mata appeared to be offside when he made it 2-0 to Manchester United

It was a demoralising blow for Liverpool who, having had to replace Glen Johnson with Kolo Toure in the first half after he suffered a groin injury, replaced Adam Lallana with Balotelli at the restart.

Whereas United had taken the chances that had come their way, Liverpool had wasted every opportunity, as Sterling did once more early in the second half.

Michael Carrick, who had been immaculate, inexplicably allowed Jonny Evans' pass to roll straight to Sterling, who hesitated, even when he seemed to have rounded De Gea, allowing the goalkeeper to get back and save.

De Gea's development into a world-class goalkeeper has been confirmed by a series of stellar performances this season and he showed his quality and reflexes again to turn Balotelli's close-range shot on to the bar.

The difference between the sides was illustrated once more as Van Persie wrapped up United's win. Dejan Lovren scooped Rooney's pass hopelessly into the path of Mata, who found Van Persie to score, with Jones once again on the wrong foot.

Manchester United celebrate scoring the opener against Liverpool
Wayne Rooney has scored (66) or assisted (28) 94 goals in his last 100 league games at Old Trafford
Raheem Sterling, Liverpool
Raheem Sterling has not scored for Liverpool since September
Robin van Persie, Man Utd
Robin van Persie has netted seven goals in his last 10 Premier League appearances against Liverpool
Mario Balotelli, Liverpool
Mario Balotelli made his return from injury as a second-half substitute

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 4JonesBooked at 21minsSubstituted forMcNairat 89'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 6EvansBooked at 37mins
  • 25A Valencia
  • 31FellainiBooked at 5mins
  • 10RooneyBooked at 43minsSubstituted forFalcaoat 78'minutes
  • 18Young
  • 8Mata
  • 20van Persie
  • 49WilsonSubstituted forHerreraat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Falcao
  • 11Januzaj
  • 13Lindegaard
  • 21Herrera
  • 24Fletcher
  • 33McNair
  • 42Blackett

Liverpool

  • 1Jones
  • 2JohnsonSubstituted forK Touréat 26'minutes
  • 37Skrtel
  • 6Lovren
  • 14Henderson
  • 8GerrardBooked at 84mins
  • 24AllenBooked at 29mins
  • 18MorenoSubstituted forMarkovicat 68'minutes
  • 10Coutinho
  • 31Sterling
  • 20LallanaSubstituted forBalotelliat 45'minutesBooked at 74mins

Substitutes

  • 4K Touré
  • 9Lambert
  • 21Leiva
  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Can
  • 45Balotelli
  • 50Markovic
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
75,331

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamLiverpool
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home11
Away19
Shots on Target
Home6
Away9
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home13
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 3, Liverpool 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Liverpool 0.

  3. Post update

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

  4. Post update

    Foul by Martin Skrtel (Liverpool).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Patrick McNair.

  6. Post update

    Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Mario Balotelli (Liverpool).

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Falcao (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Falcao (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Patrick McNair replaces Phil Jones.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Foul by Kolo Touré (Liverpool).

  13. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Bradley Jones.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lazar Markovic with a through ball.

  16. Booking

    Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jordan Henderson.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ander Herrera.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Falcao tries a through ball, but Robin van Persie is caught offside.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea16123136132339
2Man City16113233141936
3Man Utd1694329171231
4West Ham168442719828
5Southampton1682625131226
6Arsenal167542819926
7Tottenham167362022-224
8Newcastle166551822-423
9Swansea166462119222
10Liverpool166371922-321
11Stoke165471821-319
12Aston Villa165471020-1019
13Everton154652423118
14West Brom164571520-517
15Sunderland1621041424-1016
16Crystal Palace163671924-515
17Burnley163671124-1315
18QPR154291627-1114
19Hull162771523-813
20Leicester1624101527-1210
View full Premier League table

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