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Summary

  1. Substitute Gerrard sent off after 38 seconds
  2. Midfielder dismissed for stamp on Herrera
  3. Mata scores twice, including scissor-kick
  4. Sturridge replies with powerful drive
  5. Rooney misses injury-time penalty

Live Reporting

By Mike Henson and Shamoon Hafez

All times stated are UK

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It has to be an incident-packed match to render Mario Ballotelli being held back by his own fans a footnote.

That is what we got though.

I guess we are left with a bit of deja-vu as Manchester United recover something close to their Fergie-era swagger and Steven Gerrard endures a day almost as sickening as his side's defeat to Chelsea at the end of last season.

Phil McNulty's match report is up if you would like a considered review of the day.
Steven Gerrard's apology is also live. It is worth a look over just for the pictures encapsulating his short, but memorable cameo.

Bye for now.

Blue Sunday

Eden Hazard
Getty Images

As the fat is chewed over at Anfield, Chelsea are making short work of their visit to Hull.

Less than 10 minutes go and the league leaders are 2-0 through goals from Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.

If the Blues see this one through to three points they will be six clear at the top with a game in hand.

Less to see over in West London where QPR and Everton are still goalless.

You can follow events via live text commentaries on the action at

the KC Stadium and at
Loftus Road.

"The players showed incredible bravery"

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Brendan Rodgers
Getty Images

Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers speaking to Sky Sports: "I was disappointed with the first half, our start position was way too deep. They were excellent and deserved their lead. But the players showed incredible bravery in the second half and showed character.

"Without playing great, we still had a good chance. We needed some luck but it wasn't to be. We will get a reaction after this and finish the season strongly.

"Steven apologised to the players and me in the dressing room. It was probably frustration, we didn't put a tackle in in the first half but the players adjusted well.

"I have seen the Martin Skrtel incident. The ball was played through but it probably looks worse in slow motion. It looks like he is trying to get a nick on the ball, to get a toe on it the ball went into the goalkeeper's hands. Martin is not that type of player, he was just a fraction out.

"We have to refocus on our next game and we knew there would be one or two defeats on reaching our points total."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

A little look forward to where the fixture list is taking these two teams over the next couple of weeks...

Liverpool: Arsenal (a) on 4 April, Newcastle (h) on 13 April, Hull (a) on 18 April, West Brom (a) on 25 April,

Man United: Aston Villa (h) on 4 April, Man City (h) on 12 April, Chelsea (a) on 18 April and Everton (a) on 26 April

There are a fair few ups and downs to go on this rollercoaster race for fourth.

Join the debate at #bbcfootball

Lorcan McArdle: Great that Gerrard fronted up, apologized to fans, club and manager but no apology to the player he stamped on.

Swish Davo: Gerrard showed some real class there, apologising to everyone except the bloke he stamped on.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is also speaking down the barrel.

He reveals that Steven Gerrard made an apology to his team-mates and Rogers himself before coming out and saying sorry to the fans via the television cameras.

He promises that Liverpool will fight until the final game of the season against Stoke , but concedes that it will be difficult to get in the top four after today's defeat.

"An amazing result"

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

david de gea and Louis van Gaal
Reuters

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, speaking to Sky Sports: "We played very well in the first half. Maybe as good as against Spurs but in the second half we didn't play very well. Like always, when you play against 10 you forget to press. We had unnecessary ball losses and we brought Liverpool into the game. Most of the players were thinking 'maybe he can do it'.

"We kept the ball and created a lot of possibilities, not big chances, but a lot of possibilities to score. I said whoever could beat the pressure shall win. Juan Mata was very good. He played always good in my opinion with me so he's one of my most constantly playing players but sometimes you also need balance in your team and you have to select other players. Now he has played very well and did this position very well.

"It's an amazing result for the fans, because we've beaten Liverpool three times this season. We now have a gap from positions five, six and seven which is very important."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

The statistics superbrains have been searching back through the archives. They have got as far as the 2006-07 season and have not found a quicker red card than Steven Gerrard's today. The Liverpool midfielder was dismissed after 38 seconds.

Reading striker Dave Kitson was dismissed 47 seconds after coming on as a substitute in August 2007.

The opponents that day? Manchester United.

Join the debate at #bbcfootball

Stephen Barlow: If Man U win all remaining games they are at least second - still to play all top 3 - remarkable but unlikely

Josh Richards: Classy & brutally honest apology from Gerrard there. That's how you deal with making a mistake.

Joe Baker: All the focus will now be on #Gerrard rather than an excellent United performance at Anfield

Join the debate at #bbcfootball

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Gary Lineker

BBC Sport

On Twitter: Great win for Manchester United. Tactically spot on. Still doubting Louis van Gaal?

Player reaction

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Steven Gerrard
Reuters

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, speaking to Sky Sports: "I need to accept it, the decision was right. I've let down my team-mates and the supporters. I take full responsibility. I've been in the game long enough when you do something like that. I take full responsibility.

"I don't know what caused it. I don't know. Probably just a reaction to the initial tackle. I shouldn't say more about it really, I've just come out here to apologise to the dressing room and supporters."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

United boss Louis van Gaal is also out to speak to the media. He praises his side for their first half performance, saying it was better than against Spurs, but lays into them for the second-half slackness.

"They forgot to press. They thought that their team-mates could do it," he says. More to come.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard has appeared in front of the television cameras and issued a pretty much complete mea culpa for Liverpool's defeat.

He apologises for letting down his team-mate, manager and supporters to tick off a full house.

Full quotes to come.

Player reaction

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Juan Mata
Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, speaking to Sky Sports: "I think it's my best game in a United shirt, yes. It's a massive game, probably the biggest in English football, so to score two goals is great for me.

"The second goal has to be up there with my best. After Steven Gerrard was sent off we needed a second goal because they pushed us to the end.

"It was important for me. The last few months I've not had the best moment. It is the manager who decides but I'm happy today."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Neil Lennon

Bolton manager on BBC Radio 5 live

"I've not been impressed with Man Utd this season, but today they looked like a real United team of what we expect them to be. First-half they were controlled, disciplined and athletic and then second-half they controlled the play well. Looking forward to the Manchester Derby in three weeks, I think you'd have to fancy them in the form they're currently in over Man City. It's going to be an intriguing game."

Player reaction

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, speaking to Sky Sports: "It's a massive one for us. It was built up, we're so close in the table. It's three points and we're delighted in the win. In the first half we played well, in the second half not so good. We were probably better against 11 players. It was chaotic out there, 100 miles per hour, and lots of mistakes."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Neil Lennon

Bolton manager on BBC Radio 5 live

Manchester United celebrate at full time
Reuters

"United were really impressive in the first-half. I thought they controlled the game like the United of old. The sending off in the second-half disrupted their rhythm a bit, but I think they can be immensely proud of the way they played.

"Liverpool showed great spirit after going down to 10 men, this will be a tough defeat to take after such a good run."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Table
BBC

Never mind all the emotion though, what does that result do to the cold, hard reality of the league table?

Manchester United now have a five-point cushion over today's opponents in the chase for a top-four spot.

Eight games to go for Liverpool, including away games at Arsenal and Chelsea. It feels like a long way back.

Join the debate at #bbcfootball

Sam Burnett: Great result & performance. What a 2nd goal from Mata, world class performance from him.

Josh Richards: They have taken a lot of stick but Smalling and Jones were outstanding today. Brilliant performance.

Jacob Jackson: The stamp on De Gea is the same as what Costa did to Liverpool players. Bet Rodgers defends him and show is hypocrisy.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Neil Lennon

Bolton manager on BBC Radio 5 live

"He's stamped on De Gea's ankle there. That's really, really naughty from Skrtel there and if the referee had seen that, he would've been in real trouble."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

De Gea and Skrtel
Reuters

There is a bit of afters following the final whistle. David de Gea is enraged and you can understand why.

Martin Skrtel has "left one on him" there. The Liverpool defender planted his studs into the goalkeeper's shin as he chased that final pass.

The pair are eventually pulled apart as United head off to celebrate with their travelling fans and Liverpool slope off down the tunnel.

FULL-TIME

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Manchester United celebrate at the full time whistle
Reuters

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Liverpool press forward. Martin Skrtel with a run on goal.... No. David de Gea out quickly yet again.

GREAT SAVE!

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Simon Mignolet saves Wayne Rooney's penalty
Getty Images

Simon Mignolet plunges to his right and produces a superb stop. Too late for his side to save themselves?

PENALTY TO MAN UNITED

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Emre Can concedes a penalty
PA

Emre Can bundles into Daley Blind and Wayne Rooney will have a chance to seal it from 12 yards.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Neil Lennon

Bolton manager on BBC Radio 5 live

"It's been everything you would've wanted out of a game like this. At times, United could have put the game beyond Liverpool here. Liverpool have been running up a real head of steam in this half, but haven't really been able to fashion out any clear cut opportunities."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Manchester United are wringing the neck of this game. Juan Mata is playing some fine keep-ball, beating the Liverpool press with some careful passing and clever movement.

INJURY TIME

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

David De Gea claims Raheem Sterling's cross over the top of Mario Balotelli. Four minutes of injury-time pop up on the pitchside board.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

There are a few Liverpool fans heading for the exits to beat the traffic. We are into the last minute of normal time.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Neil Lennon

Bolton manager on BBC Radio 5 live

Brendan Rodgers
Reuters

"You have to give credit to Liverpool. Brendan has been really positive with the changes despite being down to 10 men and Liverpool are doing everything they can to open United up."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Marouane Fellaini again! The Belgian is a beacon in the air, repelling everything thrown at him.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Phil McNulty

BBC Sport chief football writer at Anfield

"Liverpool showing great spirit and resilience as they push forward for an unlikely equaliser - and Anfield senses this may still be on. Manchester United are sitting back and hoping to catch Liverpool cold as they throw caution to the wind with reduced numbers."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Rooney fouls Coutinho
Getty Images

Wayne Rooney leans a little too heavily on Philippe Coutinho and Liverpool have a free-kick. Forty yards out and the Red shirts are piling into the box, waiting for the delivery...

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Valuable seconds for Manchester United as Joe Allen brings down Radamel Falcao in midfield. The visitors take their time over the set-piece. Four minutes left.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Marouane Fellaini rises highest in his own box to head a Liverpool corner well clear...

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Hearts in mouths among the home fans. Emre Can and Simon Mignolet play a bit of keep-ball in their own penalty area and jsut about get away with it. Their team are still in this.

Join the debate at #bbcfootball

Aaron Wray: Balotelli's either getting the equaliser or sent off

Zac Strevens: Liverpool fans literally holding Balotelli back. Glorious.

SUBSTITUTION

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

A change for Manchester United and it looks like an attacking one. Radamel Falcao is on in place of Ander Herrera. Strange choice that from Louis van Gaal.

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Amy Lawrence

Football writer on BBC Radio 5 live

"They're giving it a good go Liverpool, but it's just finding that clinical edge to penetrate the United back line that's letting them down. The crowd had to hold Mario Balotelli back there after that crunching tackle with Chris Smalling. There was then a pat on the back from then to say well done for getting stuck in."

Liverpool 1-2 Man Utd

Marouane Fellaini keeps a cool head, nodding back into the grateful grasp of David De Gea from the resulting set-piece.