683606 EPLcopy 1394988127 875 640x480 - Title-chasing Liverpool sink struggling United
MANCHESTER: Steven Gerrard scored two penalties as Liverpool closed to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a 3-0 win over beleaguered rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
Gerrard found the net from 12 yards either side of half-time before Luis Suarez added a third goal in the 84th minute to give Liverpool their first victory at Old Trafford in five years.
Gerrard should have had a hat-trick of spot-kicks, with a third penalty hitting the post after United captain Nemanja Vidic had been shown a second yellow card for felling Daniel Sturridge, but it was to prove anecdotal.
Liverpool retain a game in hand on Chelsea while Brendan Rodgers’s side look more like potential champions with each display, United’s season continues to unravel.
This was the defending champions’ fifth home defeat of the campaign and having started the day 11 points below the Champions League places, their hopes of a top-four finish have been all but extinguished.
As a result, Wednesday’s Champions League home game with Olympiakos now takes on crucial significance, but with United 2-0 down from the first leg of the last 16 tie, there could be more misery around the corner.
United manager David Moyes had admitted prior to the game that Liverpool’s form ‘probably’ made them favourites, but he will have been alarmed by the ease with which the visitors found holes in the hosts’ defence.
City reaction pleases Pellegrini
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini praised his side’s response to a ‘very difficult week’ after they beat Hull City to rekindle their Premier League title challenge.
The victory came despite the 10th-minute dismissal of captain Vincent Kompany and left Pellegrini’s side six points shy of Chelsea with three games in hand, after Jose Mourinho’s men crashed to a 1-0 loss at Aston Villa.
“It was a very good response from the team after a very difficult week,” said Pellegrini. “Playing with one player less for 80 minutes, it was a very important response from the team.
“Of course, it’s more difficult to play with 10 players, but I trust in the team and the players and I think we did very well with and without the ball.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is mystified as to why he was sent off in his side’s shock loss to Villa and says he is eagerly waiting on the referee’s [Foy] report to discover if he faces any further disciplinary action.
Mourinho said: “It is a big occasion for me to know about the character of Mr Foy because I want to know what he is going to write about my sending off.
“[However], I prefer not to speak. If I speak I will be in trouble. I don’t want to do something we are not allowed to do.”