Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Javier Hernandez rescued a point for Manchester United 10 minutes from time as converted home the equaliser in a gripping 1-1 draw at Anfield.
After an eventless first half it was Steven Gerrard who struck the opener from a dubious freekick decision before Hernandez came off the bench to level the score from a corner.
Liverpool then pressed for a winner late on in the game but failed to take any of their chances as the final whistle sounded to leave the game with the scores level.
The opening 15 minutes started at a frantic pace but failed to deliver a chance of any real significance.
It was Phil Jones who had the first chance of the game as he headed a Patrice Evra cross from the left into the side-netting at the far post.
Liverpool had their first chance on goal in the 21st minute as Gerrard came short from a corner and curled an inviting ball to the near post for Luis Suarez to nod across and wide of goal.
A few minutes later Suarez took the ball down just inside the United half and launched a long-range effort wide as he saw David De Gea off his line.
10 minutes before the break Liverpool had a great chance as Charlie Adam blocked shot fell to Suarez on the edge of the penalty area who turned Johnny Evans twice before firing his shot straight at the onrushing De Gea.
A minute later it was the away side’s turn to attack as Ashley Young teed off David Fletcher who dragged his shot wide across the face of goal from 2 yards out.
Ji-Sung Park came close as he slide in on Jose Enrique on the halfway line before running down the right to cut inside but spoon his shot wide on the upright.
The game was held up for two minutes before half-time as Phil Jones and Lucas Leiva accidently collided in the Liverpool half off the ball with the former required more treatment on his knee.
Both players came back on as Liverpool went into half-time as the better side.
After the break it took just 44 seconds for the first chance of the half as Young ran the ball down the middle but dragged his shot wide of the near post from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later Young won a freekick from 25 yards out and took it himself but Pepe Reina was equal to it in the centre of his goal.
5 minutes into the second half Dirk Kuyt’s free header from a Gerrard corner looked to have struck the arm of Evans but the home side’s protests were short-lived as Young found himself at the other end of the field seconds later and fired his shot from the right across goal and wide of the far post.
The lively Suarez again tested De Gea 5 minutes later as he turned and shot from the edge of the box but his shot was easily held by the United keeper low to his right.
Liverpool maintained their pressure as De Gea caught a teasing cross to his right before Smalling scrambled the ball away from a Red’s corner.
The action intensified in the 66th minute as Adam’s mazy run led to Rio Ferdinand bringing down the Scot on the edge of the area and despite minimal contact Ferdinand avoided a second yellow card.
And from the resulting freekick Liverpool Captain Gerrard stepped up and curled a shot through the wall to the home side a goal to the good and send Anfield into ecstasy.
Straight after Liverpool had taken the lead, Sir Alex Ferguson reacted immediately by bringing on both Wayne Rooney and Nani as United went for a more attacking line up.
It was the latter of the changes that had the next effort on goal as 15 minutes from time Nani pirouetted away from his marker on the edge of the area but ballooned his shot hide and wide over the bar.
Hernandez was brought into the mix but Ferguson in place of Phil Jones as United went with three strikers in their set up with Rooney being enforced as a midfielder.
And the decision paid off as 10 minutes from time a corner from Nani was swung in for Welbeck to help on at the near post before Hernandez met it at the far post to prod home the equaliser.
Liverpool wasted no time in responding with Kuyt forcing De Gea into a save from point blank range before De Gea flapped at the resulting corner as Stewart Downing slid in at the far post to see his shot blocked.
Downing then tried his luck from range but saw his shot fizz over three minutes from the end.
De Gea was forced to make another save in the 90th minute as Jordan Henderson floated a wonderful volley towards the top corner.
A minute later a goalmouth scramble sent a panic around Anfield but finished with Martin Skrtel slamming the ball over from close range.
Moments later Liverpool continued to push for a late winner as Henderson met a cross from the left but put his free header on to the roof of the goal.
And that was the last chance of the game as both sides had to settle for a point in a hotly contested fixture.
Matt Cotton @FindingCotton