A day that had started so well ended in huge disappointment for United as substitute Ryan Babel's late strike ended Liverpool's hoodoo against Sir Alex's men and gave them their first league win over the Reds since April 2004.
Dimitar Berbatov, making his United debut, set up Carlos Tevez for the opener after just three minutes. A mix-up between Edwin van der Sar and Wes Brown, which saw the defender credited with an own goal, drew the home side level, before further defensive uncertainty allowed Babel to fire the winner 13 minutes from time and hand Rafael Benitez his first league victory over United.
Things got even worse for the visitors just before full-time when Nemanja Vidic was given his marching orders after picking up a second booking. He will now miss the trip to Chelsea next Sunday.
The big question before kick-off was who would feature in attack for United? Would Berbatov start or would Sir Alex stick with his trusted pairing of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez? As it turned out, the Reds' boss opted to field all three. Rafael Benitez had no such luxury as he started the match without the services of his two most influential players, skipper Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, who were deemed only fit enough for the bench following groin and hamstring problems respectively.
United’s three-pronged attack was at it right from the off. With just 40 seconds gone, Rooney collected possession and slipped a pass out to Wes Brown on the right. His cross was deftly flicked on by Tevez to Berbatov who struck a first time effort which hit Martin Skrtel’s left arm, although the Liverpool defender knew little about it. Nearly the perfect start.
That moment duly arrived just over a minute later as Berbatov played a key role in giving United the lead. Anderson sent the striker galloping away on