Here’s our detailed take on the champions’ narrow defeat at Anfield…
The Match Frenetic early on, thanks in no small part to Daniel Sturridge's fourth-minute opener. Both sides hassled and harried one another in possession before gradually retreating as the game’s pace lulled. A spate of bookings – three to United, one to Liverpool – punctuated the late stages of the first half, and the visitors emerged for the second period fired up. Enjoying the majority of possession was never translated into goalscoring openings, however, and the hosts passed the finishing post in relative comfort.
Goal Daniel Sturridge (4 mins). Steven Gerrard's corner found Daniel Agger, whose powerful header was arcing towards goal but appeared to be covered by Tom Cleverley until Sturridge deftly flicked the ball between the midfielder and Patrice Evra.
Sub-plot United have spent most of the summer being tipped to recruit a string of midfielders. On the evidence of this display, where Liverpool’s extra bite in central areas controlled the early stages of the game, David Moyes may yet opt to bolster his midfield ranks before Monday’s transfer deadline.
Star men Few players stood out in a largely subdued display lacking in cohesion and penetration, but substitute Antonio Valencia acquitted himself well at right-back after replacing the injured Phil Jones, while Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra used their experience to good effect for long periods.