The Redsl found themselves a goal down after only two minutes when only the briefest of contact between Daniel Agger and Dimitar Berbatov saw the United forward go to ground and convince referee Howard Webb to award a penalty.
The visitor’s were incensed with the decision but Ryan Giggs stepped up to fire past Pepe Reina.
Instead of capitalising on their early breakthrough United failed to make it count and the first half looked on course to be evenly matched.
United looked to increase their lead after the break but with Liverpool struggling to make any headway the game gradually drifted tamely to its inevitable conclusion.
Jonny Evans headed against the post for the home side and Fabio Aurelio went closest for the visitor’s.
For Liverpool the Europa League now looks their only hope for silverware this season although Dalglish would probably settle for simply a change of luck.
Referee: Howard Webb
Venue: Old Trafford
Man Utd scorers: Giggs (pen) 2
21 Rafael Da Silva
23 Evans (Smalling 84)
24 Fletcher (yellow card) (Anderson 62 (yellow card)
14 Hernandez (Owen 75)
20 Fabio Da Silva,