United 10 points clear after beating Liverpool

United 10 points clear after beating Liverpool

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
United 10 points clear after beating Liverpool

Manchester United's French defender Patrice Evra (L) celebrates United's second goal with Manchester United's English defender Rio Ferdinand (C) and Manchester United's English striker Danny Welbeck (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES

Manchester United went 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, after a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Goals from Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic gave United a 2-0 lead before Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge pulled one back for the visitors in this latest clash between England's two most successful clubs.

Reigning champions Manchester City, currently in second place, will reduce the gap on local rivals United to seven points if they win away to Arsenal in a match kicking off at 4pm local time (1600GMT) on Sunday.

Van Persie gave United a 19th minute lead when he swept in Patrice Evra's cross from eight yards out.

It was the Dutch striker's 17th Premier League goal this term, and 21st in all competitions, since he arrived at Old Trafford in a 24 million ($39 million) pre-season move from top-flight rivals Arsenal.

United made it 2-0 nine minutes after half-time when full-back Evra's header from van Persie's free-kick deflected in off centre-half Vidic.

But three minutes later Sturridge, on at the start of the second half for Lucas Leiva, marked his Premier League debut for Liverpool with a goal when he followed up the rebound after David de Gea saved skipper Steven Gerrard's shot from outside the box.

It was Sturridge's second goal in as many games for Liverpool following his move from European champions champions Chelsea after he was on target in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Mansfield last weekend.

However, Sturridge failed to make the most of two more chances and United held on for a victory that gave them a league double over Liverpool, who remained in eighth place, this season.