Premier League
LiverpoolLiverpool1Man UtdManchester United2

Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Anfield
Juan Mata
Juan Mata scored twice for Manchester United including a stunning scissor-kick
  • Gerrard sent off 38 seconds after coming on as sub
  • 16th red in Premier League meetings between sides
  • Mata scores two including stunning scissor kick
  • United move five points clear of Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was sent off 38 seconds after coming on as a half-time substitute as Manchester United retained their grip on a top-four place with a vital win at Anfield.

Gerrard was introduced for Adam Lallana at the start of the second half with United deservedly leading through Juan Mata's early goal - but was gone almost as quickly after following up a thunderous tackle on the goalscorer with a reckless reaction to a challenge with a clear stamp on Ander Herrera.

It was inexcusable behaviour from a player of Gerrard's experience, having just been handed the responsibility by manager Brendan Rodgers of getting an underperforming Liverpool side back into the game.

Mata emphasised the folly of Gerrard's red card when he added a second with a sensational volley just before the hour to confirm United's superiority in a game that confirmed the impression that manager Louis van Gaal is now getting the sort of performances and results he demands.

MOTD2 analysis
Alan Shearer: "United moved the ball quickly and they passed it well too - their one or two-touch football has clearly improved massively of late. But the most impressive part of their performance in the first 45 minutes at Anfield was their intensity when they did not have possession."
Read more: 'How Van Gaal got it right again'

Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back to give Liverpool hope of an unlikely comeback but the visitors were never seriously threatened again and could even afford the luxury of Wayne Rooney seeing an injury-time penalty saved by Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet.

United built on last Sunday's impressive 3-0 win against Tottenham to extend their lead to five points over Liverpool, who are a place behind in fifth.

Liverpool 1-2 Man United: Louis van Gaal pleased with 'marvellous' Juan Mata

And the magnitude of the win was emphasised by the sight of manager Van Gaal joining his players as they celebrated with their fans in the Anfield Road end at the final whistle.

The game ended in more acrimony after a challenge by Reds defender Martin Skrtel on United keeper David De Gea - but nothing could diminish United's joy at a fully deserved win against a home side who paid the price for a poor first-half performance and a moment of sheer recklessness from Gerrard.

The 34-year-old, who announced in January that he was leaving Anfield in the summer after joining the Reds aged nine, will now serve a three-game ban.

Steven Gerrard sent off
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard lasted just 38 seconds before being sent off

The hosts have made a fast start their trademark at Anfield under Rodgers - but United turned the tables comprehensively and fully merited the lead given to then when Herrera slipped in Mata superbly for a composed finish in front of the Kop.

The visitors' tempo meant Liverpool were getting no joy in midfield or attack, where Sturridge cut an isolated figure and Raheem Sterling was pushed to the periphery on the right flank.

Sturridge did, however, set up Liverpool's best chance of the half when he played in Lallana with a clear sight of goal. The former Southampton man took aim before sending a side-footed finish wastefully wide.

Lallana was the player sacrificed for the brief introduction of Gerrard, who hinted at his approach with a thunderous challenge on Mata, followed seconds later with another tangle involving Herrera.

Liverpool 1-2 Man United: Reds can still make top four - Brendan Rodgers

For a player of such vast experience, Gerrard's reaction - appearing to stamp on his opponent on the ground - was only going to end one way, with a deserved red card.

Liverpool's fans were furious, especially when Phil Jones escaped with a yellow card for a wild lunge on Jordan Henderson - and their mood darkened further when United added a brilliant second after 58 minutes.

Angel Di Maria, on as a substitute for the limping Ashley Young, lifted the ball into the area for Mata to deposit a brilliant low finish past keeper Simon Mignolet with an acrobatic scissor kick.

Liverpool had actually responded well to Gerrard's dismissal and kept the game alive with more than 20 minutes left when Sturridge beat De Gea with a shot at his near post that the normally impeccable United keeper should have dealt with much better.

The final drama came with that missed Rooney penalty after Emre Can fouled Daley Blind, but fortunately for Rooney it was not to prove expensive.

Juan Mata
Midfielder Juan Mata opened the scoring for Manchester United after slotting in from close range
Daniel Sturridge scores for Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge scored at the near post for Liverpool
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney missed a late penalty for Manchester United
David De Gea and Martin Skrtel
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Liverpool's Martin Skrtel squared-up after a challenge by the defender
Pele
Brazil legend Pele was a guest of honour at Anfield

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 22Mignolet
  • 23Can
  • 37Skrtel
  • 17Sakho
  • 31Sterling
  • 14Henderson
  • 24AllenBooked at 19mins
  • 18MorenoSubstituted forBalotelliat 66'minutesBooked at 67mins
  • 20LallanaSubstituted forGerrardat 45'minutesBooked at 46mins
  • 15Sturridge
  • 10Coutinho

Substitutes

  • 1Jones
  • 2Johnson
  • 4K Touré
  • 8Gerrard
  • 9Lambert
  • 21Leiva
  • 45Balotelli

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 12Smalling
  • 4JonesBooked at 56mins
  • 17BlindSubstituted forRojoat 90+4'minutes
  • 16Carrick
  • 8Mata
  • 21HerreraBooked at 47minsSubstituted forFalcaoat 83'minutes
  • 31Fellaini
  • 18YoungSubstituted forDi Maríaat 55'minutes
  • 10Rooney

Substitutes

  • 2da Silva
  • 5Rojo
  • 7Di María
  • 9Falcao
  • 11Januzaj
  • 32Valdés
  • 44Pereira
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
44,405

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home7
Away6
Shots on Target
Home1
Away4
Corners
Home2
Away3
Fouls
Home14
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 1, Manchester United 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 1, Manchester United 2.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Marcos Rojo replaces Daley Blind.

  4. Post update

    Penalty saved! Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.

  5. Post update

    Penalty Manchester United. Daley Blind draws a foul in the penalty area.

  6. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Emre Can (Liverpool) after a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

  8. Post update

    Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

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

  10. Post update

    Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

  11. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Antonio Valencia.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Falcao replaces Ander Herrera.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Marouane Fellaini.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Antonio Valencia (Manchester United).

  15. Post update

    Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

  17. Post update

    Mario Balotelli (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

  20. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea29207261253667
2Man City30187562283461
3Arsenal30186658312760
4Man Utd30178552272559
5Liverpool30166844321254
6Southampton30165942212153
7Tottenham3016595045553
8Swansea30127113438-443
9West Ham30119104037342
10Stoke30126123437-342
11Crystal Palace3099123641-536
12Newcastle3098133348-1535
13Everton30810123842-434
14West Brom3089132739-1233
15Hull30610142840-1228
16Aston Villa3077161939-2028
17Sunderland30414122344-2126
18Burnley30510152649-2325
19QPR3064203154-2322
20Leicester2947182748-2119
View full Premier League table

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