As has often been the case already this season, a deficit provided the spark for United to burst into life. There was suddenly more intent and incision about the visitors, and under five minutes had passed before the scoreline was levelled in sensational fashion.
Valencia crossed from the right and Kagawa chested the ball neatly down to Rafael. The Brazilian cut inside on his left foot and, despite having little room for manoeuvre, curled an unstoppable shot high into Reina’s goal, via the Spaniard’s upright.
Anfield’s away section bellowed its delight, but the expected surge of attacking play from United was instead replaced by a game which remained hard-fought and finely poised. Suarez – fresh from having a viable penalty appeal turned down – drew a fine stop from Lindegaard with an arrowed left-footed effort. The Dane then tipped over Suso’s side-footed effort as Liverpool continued to threaten.
Though the game meandered as a stalemate, United benefited from a penalty award with fifteen minutes remaining - only the Reds' second at Anfield in Sir Alex's Old Trafford reign. Valencia showed tremendous speed to nip between Johnson and Daniel Agger and reach a loose ball, and as the Ecuadorian bore down on Pepe Reina and weighed up his options, Johnson’s attempts to recover only culminated in Valencia being bundled to the ground.