Daniel Sturridge’s early goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 win over bitter rivals Manchester United in a feisty Premier League match at Anfield on Sunday.
On a day when Liverpool celebrated 100 years since the birth of legendary former manager Bill Shankly,Sturridge lifted the crowd further when he flicked in Daniel Agger’s header from close range in the fourth minute. Also Read: Arsenal sink Tottenham
Champions United,without striker Wayne Rooney after a training-ground incident left him with a bad cut on his forehead,rarely threatened to equalise despite dominating possession in the second half.
David Moyes’s first competitive defeat as United manager continued his poor record at Anfield where he failed to win in 12 attempts when he was in charge at Everton.
The result left Liverpool as the only team to win all three of their opening games,a feat that can be matched by Tottenham Hotspur when they travel to Arsenal for the north London derby later on Sunday.
“It is a great win for our belief,last season we drew too many of the big games and we lost both times to Manchester United,but today was another marker for us and since January our form has been very,very good,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“Manchester United played well and we weren’t as fluent as we have been but we now have the mentality to get results.”
The match was preceded by a minute’s applause celebrating Monday’s anniversary of the birth of Shankly,the man who did so much to turn the club into a force,and The Reds ensured they honoured his memory in the best possible fashion.
Agger got the better of Rio Ferdinand from a corner and Sturridge,celebrating his 24th birthday,reacted sharply to nod the ball home from close range for his third in goal in three games.
The game continued at a frenetic pace with chances at both ends,although neither United keeper David de Gea nor Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet were seriously tested.
Liverpool looked the more dangerous side with Philippe Coutinho continuing his impressive start to life in the Premier League by causing problems down the left.
United struggled to impose any authority in the middle of the park,where Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs endured difficult afternoons.
Frustrations began to grow as the half wore on,with Iago Aspas,Cleverley,Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick all seeing yellow,and referee Andre Marriner had to speak to captains Steven Gerrard and Nemanja Vidic as the players left the pitch.
United stepped up their efforts after the break,spending plenty of time camped in the opposition half but unable to create clear openings.
Agger and Martin Skrtel looked strong in the Liverpool defence and United’s best openings were a ferocious strike by Portuguese substitute Nani which was well blocked by Mignolet and a late chance for Van Persie which he sent well wide.
De Gea was only called on a couple of times as Liverpool began to tire,clearing up a poor backpass from Vidic and tipping over a late strike from Raheem Sterling.
“I thought we played really well,” Moyes said.
“We had long periods of the game but couldn’t score. Apart from the lapse in concentration for their goal,we played well.
“From what I saw today,I’m more than happy with what I’ve got. It’s the best we’ve played this season. I wouldn’t be worried if I didn’t add to the squad.”
In the other early kickoff,Swansea City picked up their first points of the season with victory over West Bromwich Albion,who lie bottom of the table with a single point and no goals scored.
Ben Davies opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a classy side-foot volley after being set up by Pablo Hernandez who sealed all three points in the 83rd minute,capitalising on good work from compatriot Michu.
The result will come as a relief to Michael Laudrup’s side after defeats by United and Spurs,while even the return of striker Nicolas Anelka from compassionate leave could not paper over the problems facing West Brom.