Liverpool inflicted on bitter rivals Manchester United their second defeat in a week with an emphatic 3-1 win over the current leaders. For the second time in a week Manchester United missed the chance to pull away from the chasing pack as they crashed to a heavy defeat at Liverpool giving Arsenal hope as both club's have now played the same number of games and United are only three points clear of the Gunners.

Liverpool hitman Dirk Kuyt was United's tormentor in chief with his first ever hat-trick for the club helped, it has to be said, by some sloppy defending from the visitor's.

Considering the Reds have had a disappointing season they are still unbeaten at home against teams from the top half of the table and a first half brace from Kuyt set them on their way.

The Dutch international opened the scoring on 34 minutes after good work from Luis Suarez. Five minutes later and it was dream time at Anfield as Kuyt made it two heading home after some indecisive defending from Nani.

The half then ended with some tasty tackles from both Jamie Carragher and Rodriguez Maxi with Nani the victim.

United were finally condemned to their second league defeat in a row for the first time in 75 games when their defensive wall parted allowing Suarez's free kick to be parried by Edwin van Der Sar and Kuyt slid in to claim his third.

Liverpool's Andy Carroll came on with 15 minutes remaining to make his debut as the home side played out time.

Even a consolation strike in injury time goal from United's Javier Hernandez failed to take the gloss off a sparkling performance from the Merseysiders.

Referee: Phil Dowd

Venue: Anfield Attendance: 44,753

Liverpool scorers: Kuyt 34, 39, 65 Man Utd scorers: Hernandez 90+2

LIVERPOOL 25 Reina 02 G Johnson 06 Aurelio (Kyrgiakos 24) 23 Carragher (yellow card) 37 Skrtel (yellow card) 04 Meireles (Carroll 74) 08 Gerrard 17 Maxi 21 Lucas 07 Suarez (Cole 89) 18 Kuyt

Substitutes 42 Gulacsi, 16 Kyrgiakos, 10 Cole, 26 Spearing, 28 Poulsen, 09 Carroll, 24 Ngog

MAN UTD 01 Van der Sar (yellow card) 03 Evra 06 Brown 12 Smalling 21 Rafael (yellow card) (O'Shea 76) 11 Giggs 16 Carrick 17 Nani (Hernandez 45+6) 18 Scholes (yellow card) (Fletcher 83) 09 Berbatov 10 Rooney

Substitutes 29 Kuszczak, 20 Fabio Da Silva, 22 O'Shea, 24 Fletcher, 28 Gibson, 14 Hernandez, 26 Obertan

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