SUB Xherdan Shaqiri’s lucky late double put Liverpool top – as outplayed Manchester United fell 19 POINTS off the pace.
Sadio Mane chested down to slot Liverpool’s deserved opener on 24 minutes before Jesse Lingard bundled United level seven minutes later.
But Swiss midfielder Shaqiri saw two low shots deflect in on 73 and 80 minutes to clinch the Kop victory.
Liverpool had 65% of the possession and 36 shots to United’s six as the hosts dictated, without ever quite reaching top gear.
United have not conceded so many efforts on goal since 2003-4.
And the biggest indictment of their latest dull, tame display was how little passion they created against their fiercest rivals.
Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho had labelled Liverpool lucky in three of their past four games before this one-sided clash.
And although Shaqiri’s finishes were, individually, a tad fortunate, Mourinho must know such moments will come if the opposition pepper your goal with crosses and half-chances.
The under-fire manager admitted straight afterwards: “We couldn’t cope with their fantastic intensity”.
Tellingly, perhaps, whereas Mourinho brought on mediocre grafter Marouane Fellaini at half-time for youngster Diogo Dalot, Liverpool introduced mercurial crafter Shaquiri with 20 minutes remaining.
Fellaini was as anonymous as his colleagues – whereas Shaqiri buzzed around the fringes of the United box as Liverpool came forward from all angles.
And possibly the only solace for Mourinho was that much-maligned centre-backs Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof stood up to the pressure reasonably well.
In the end, though, their resilience was in vain – leaving United 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and eight behind Arsenal.