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United earn ‘nervy’ derby win

Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic scored as Manchester United strengthened their grip on top spot in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.

But the latest meeting between England’s two most successful clubs saw Liverpool ensured a nervous finish for United when substitute Daniel Sturridge pulled a goal back with just over half an hour left.

Van Persie scored in a dominant first half for United with Vidic, deflecting in a header from Patrice Evra, adding a second goal in the 54th minute.

 But three minutes later, Sturridge pulled a goal back for the visitors, who remained in eighth place but now trail United by the huge margin of 24 points.

 Liverpool, in what is always one of the showpiece fixtures of the English season, looked unsettled from the off and fell behind to their north-west rivals in the 19th minute.

 A well-worked move between Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley saw Evra clear down the left and he played in a low cross for van Persie, who calmly side-footed past Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina to grab his 17th Premier League goal of the season.

 It was certainly something for Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach, to note as he was in attendance to cast his eye over United Real’s last-16 opponents in the Champions League.

Liverpool’s £12m signing from Chelsea Daniel Sturridge had a dream start for Reds scoring two goals in two games.


RODGERS PLEASED WITH STURRIDGE

Even the most ardent Liverpool fans would have left Manchester United with embarrassed smiles had they snatched a draw on Sunday but plenty will be asking why goalscorer Daniel Sturridge started on the bench in the 2-1 defeat. ‘He (Sturridge) was terrific when he came on and we were much better in the second half,’ Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told Sky without revealing why the England man had not started having been starved of football latterly at Chelsea. ‘In the second half, after we conceded the goal, we could have given up the fight but that is the nature of the group. In the end, I thought we maybe deserved something from the game. The goals we conceded were disappointing. ‘We will learn from days like today, even though we didn’t get the result.’


GUARDIOLA TO TAKE CITY JOB?

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will replace Roberto Mancini as manager of English champions Manchester City in the summer, the Sun on Sunday claimed. Guardiola, 41, said last Monday he was ready to return to coaching after stepping down from the Barcelona job at the end of last season. The Sun claimed Guardiola will opt for City over Chelsea because he sees the Abu Dhabi-owned side as being the more likely to challenge for European honours despite the London side having won the Champions League last season.
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