Javier Hernandez goal eases pressure on David Moyes
Liverpool out of the cup - but Suarez and Sturridge show signs of being a powerful strike force
Manchester United 1 Liverpool 0. A goal from Javier Hernandez settled this League Cup third round tie in favour of United but there were still reasons to be cheerful for the Liverpool faithful who travelled the short distance to Old Trafford.
Luis Suarez made his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt since April, a six-month hiatus imposed on him by the Football Association after his infamous bite on Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic. Yet the Uruguayan looked sharp as he and Daniel Sturridge showed signs of their potential force as a striking partnership.
Suarez almost levelled for Liverpool in the second-half with a free-kick and he later declared himself satisfied with his return for the Reds.
"The result is not good because we lost but the feeling is good because we played very well, we created chances and we missed," Suarez told the club's website. "I know it was a difficult moment but for myself and for the team it's very important I'm back because I can help the team and off the pitch I can't. We'll keep going for the week and for the next game."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers also expressed his satisfaction at the sight of Suarez back in a red shirt, describing his performance as "excellent" and adding: "You could tell he'd been out for a long time as he tired at the end but he's obviously a threat."
Nonetheless, the victory belonged to a United team showing eight changes from the side that capitulated 4-1 to Manchester City at the weekend. And it was bit-part striker Javier Hernandez – recently linked with a possible move to Arsenal in the New Year – who scored the only goal of the game less than a minute after the restart.
Volleying home Wayne Rooney's corner, Hernandez extended United's run to six successive home wins over Liverpool and also eased the pressure on David Moyes.
"It was a big game for us," admitted Moyes, whose team will host Norwich City in the fourth round. "We had lost at Anfield a few weeks ago and at the Etihad on Sunday and we wanted to put that right."
Despite the fact United lie eighth in the Premier League, victory against Liverpool in the cup means Moyes has now won five of his first eight games in all competitions - the best start of any new United manager since the legendary Matt Busby in 1946.
Told the good news, Moyes replied: "Everybody seems to be picking a stat out - I have not won here or I have not done that - but that is one of the better ones." ·