Robin Van Persie's contentious penalty secured Manchester
United's first victory at Anfield since December 2007 on an
emotionally charged afternoon on Merseyside.
Van Persie's sixth United goal was enough to claim a barely deserved win in
another bad-tempered encounter in which Jonjo Shelvey became the fifth
player sent off in the last six league meetings between the two old rivals.
The United striker settled a incident-strewn game nine minutes from time after
referee Mark Halsey controversially awarded a penalty after Glen Johnson's
challenge on Antonio Valencia, enabling the visitors to climb into second
place and leave Liverpool
in the bottom three.
But Halsey's performance will have only increased the frustration for Brendan
Rodgers, after the Liverpool manager lost Shelvey shortly before half-time
after a lunge on Jonny Evans. The midfielder was involved in a fierce
confrontation with Sir Alex Ferguson as he stormed off towards the tunnel.
Though Liverpool did take the lead through Steven Gerrard, Rafael restored
parity before Van Persie produced the vital contribution to leave the hosts
still waiting for their first league win under their new manager.