Steven Gerrard converted 2 of his 3 spot kicks and Luis Suarez scored late as Liverpool ran riot at Old Traford to thump Manchester United 3 nil while Nemanja Vidic was saw red.
Brendan Rodgers’s men have now won five Premier League games in a row.
Though chances were scarce during the first half, Liverpool played with a far greater intensity and tempo, and took the lead on 34 minutes. Gerrard sidefooted home from 12 yards after Rafael had misjudged a crossfield ball and handled when Luis Suarez tried to knock the ball past him.
Early in the second half Phil Jones was penalised for a nudge on Joe Allen and, though De Gea guessed correctly on this occasion, Gerrard’s precise penalty was beyond the United keeper’s reach.
The Liverpool skipper then had his golden opportunity for a memorable Old Trafford hat-trick as Liverpool were awarded a third penalty when Sturridge fell under the challenge of Nemanja Vidic which resulted in a second yellow card for the United captain. Gerrard stepped up for his hat-trick, only to strike the post.
Three points move Liverpool up into second place, four points shy of league leaders Chelsea but with a game in-hand.
David Moyes’s United remain seventh, five points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who play Arsenal shortly, in fifth.