Liverpool cemented their place in the Premier League title race on Sunday afternoon, sweeping aside arch rivals Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.
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Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool
Premier League / Old Trafford / Sunday, 16th March 2014
Goals: Gerrard pen (34), pen (46), Suarez (84)
Sterling took up a role in the centre behind Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, which held Liverpool’s shape well, although they did lack Sterling’s usual threat down the wing.
Luis Suarez could have earned Liverpool a penalty inside the first five minutes of the game when he was clipped by Marouane Fellaini in the area, but stayed on his feet and had to settle for a corner.
On 33 minutes, after a good opening half hour of controlled football from Liverpool, Rafael handled the ball inside the penalty area after good work from Suarez.
Referee Mark Clattenburg had no qualms in pointing straight to the spot, but having been booked earlier, a second yellow card for the Man United defender wasn’t as forthcoming and United were lucky not to go down to 10 men.
Steven Gerrard held his cool to convert the resulting spot kick to David de Gea’s left to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Liverpool continued to press as the first-half went on, and a fine save from Simon Mignolet denying Wayne Rooney just before the break was quickly followed by Martin Skrtel throwing himself bravely in the way of the rebound as the Reds took their lead into half-time.
The Reds came out for the second-half with the same rampant spirit they’d shown in the first, with Joe Allen immediately going down under a challenge from Phil Jones in the area just two minutes after the restart.
Gerrard again kept his composure to step up and score his second penalty of the game, putting the ball low to de Gea’s left to double Liverpool’s lead.
United had two weak cries for penalties shortly after — the ball seemingly brushing against Glen Johnson’s hand, before Rooney jumped into Skrtel claiming contact.
With 12 minutes to go, Liverpool were awarded their third penalty of the afternoon — Nemanja Vidic bringing down Daniel Sturridge in the area and receiving his second yellow card.
It was the fourth time Vidic has been sent off against Liverpool in his career.
Gerrard stepped up but, hitting his shot to de Gea’s right, hit the post, squandering the opportunity for a hat-trick of penalties.
Just minutes later Sturridge was tripped by Michael Carrick as the England international looked to Clattenburg for what should have been yet another penalty.
Suarez brought on a great save from de Gea when through on goal as the game ticked on, and did well to control Sturridge’s mis-hit shot on 83 minutes, and confidently finish past de Gea for the third of the afternoon.
It cemented the turn of the tides between the two sides with 14 points now separating the rivals, and Liverpool having completed a league double over Moyes’ side this season.
Nine games to go. The dream is still on.
Team Line-ups and Substitutions
Manchester United: de Gea, Rafael Booked, Evra, Carrick, Jones, Vidic, Mata, Fellaini (Cleverley – 76′ ), van Persie, Rooney, Januzaj (Welbeck 76′).
Substitutes: Ferdinand, Lindegaard, Young, Welbeck, Cleverley, Valencia, Kagawa.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Gerrard (Lucas 86′), Skrtel, Agger, Henderson, Sterling (Coutinho 72′), Sturridge (Aspas 90′), Suarez, Allen.
Substitutes: Jones, Aspas, Coutinho, Moses, Sakho, Cissokho, Lucas
Ref: Mark Clattenburg