second half. It became a far more open affair with Welbeck and van Persie having early attempts and Andre Wisdom slipping and miscuing when presented with a decent chance after Suarez dribbled past Evra.
With 54 minutes on the clock, United moved further ahead when Skrtel was fortunate to escape with a booking after flattening Welbeck when he tried to latch onto an Evra pass. The Reds took their own retribution with van Persie's delicious free-kick met by Evra at the far post. The Frenchman's header glanced under Reina via Vidic and it's pretty certain that the skipper will be credited with the goal.
However, any thoughts the points were safe were short lived as, three minutes later, Gerrard won the ball aggressively in midfield and, with Webb playing on, forced a diving save out of David De Gea. Sturridge was first to the rebound to reduce the arrears with a goal on his Barclays Premier League debut for his new club.
The Reds regained some composure and would have netted again but for a fine save by Reina. The Spaniard was clearly showing no ill-effects from his first-half injury as he threw himself to his left to beat away a Kagawa curler after build-up play involving Rafael and Welbeck.
Liverpool remained a threat with Johnson lashing wide and Sturridge also firing off target after taking on Rio Ferdinand when picked out by Suarez's crossfield pass. The next opportunity was all of United's own making, though, as Evra's stray pass was touched by Sturridge to