Daniel Sturridge scored the only goal of the game inside four minutes as a pedestrian United were outfought by a gutsy Liverpool.
Here are five talking points...
PEDESTRIAN UNITED STILL RUDDERLESS
How many times must a broken record continue before it is stopped? Liverpool have outplayed United at Anfield on the majority of occasions over the last six years despite being an inferior side, and United have negligently failed to match their hosts' alacrity, primarily in midfield.
The next 30 hours are critical for David Moyes since they could determine whether United can retain their Premier League title. Michael Carrick, 32 now, experienced one of his worst games on Sunday and Tom Cleverley is too cautious and comfortable for a first-teamer. Both were ponderous on the ball and timid in the tackle as Lucas Leiva chased every opponent like a yard dog following a ball in the park.
What United lack in steel they do not compensate for with silk. There is a startling lack of creativity and for the second match in succession Robin van Persie was isolated. It took Javier Hernández, not renowned for his link-up play, to spring the first great chance for the Dutchman in the 89th minute.
BACKWARD LIVERPOOL FANS MUST BE ADDRESSED
Prior to the game, Liverpool paid tribute to Bill Shankly with a mosaic and minute's applause on the eve of his 100th birthday. Similarly last year, they emotionally acknowledged the exoneration of their fans in the Hillsborough tragedy, but on both occasions they despicably sullied themselves.
Patrice Evra, racially abused by Luis Suárez, continues to be booed and labelled a "lying b*****d" by some on the Kop. This backward thinking sets a horrid example and though football has become ridiculously sanitised, the vilification of Evra should be publicly condemned by Liverpool.
TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG
It remains a mystery why Sir Alex Ferguson bought Ashley Young, a player who was not necessarily needed and who rarely showed glimpses of the class which identified him as a potential United player at Aston Villa. Young's antics made him generally unpopular and over two years on, he is possibly disliked even more by his own fans.
Young was woefully ineffectual at Anfield to the extent his corner-taking - one of his great strengths - was worse than Ryan Giggs'. At 28, he is still struggling for consistency and it is hard to foresee Moyes tolerating his devastating lack of bravery for much longer either.
LUCAS CONTINUES TO DOMINATE UNITED
He will never be mentioned in the same breath as the greatest opponents to excel against United, but Lucas Leiva consistently embarrasses Liverpool's rivals at Anfield. He has played in four of the last five fixtures between the two clubs in L4 and on the one occasion he was absent United registered a rare victory at Anfield.
Michael Carrick has played in all of those matches and is always overwhelmed by the Brazilian. However classy a midfielder he is, his preference for time on the ball is not granted by Lucas, who utterly dominated Sunday's contest with typical gumption.
KAGAWA SHOULD ASK FOR TRANSFER
When Geoff Shreeves conducted his pre-match interview with David Moyes he asked about Wayne Rooney's injury when the majority of United fans wanted to know why Shinji Kagawa was not in the 18-man squad. Moyes confirmed after the defeat he had to choose between Kagawa and Nani for a bench berth and the Portuguese was given the nod.
Kagawa, one of the best players in Europe's best league during his two seasons with Borussia Dortmund, should be an automatic pick for United's XI. His former coach, Jürgen Klopp, lauded him as "one of the best players in the world" but he continues to be unappreciated and under-valued at Old Trafford.
Moyes publicly criticised flair players at Everton and Kagawa, even at this early juncture, appears to have occupied that slot at United. He did not have a proper pre-season but has been involved in United's first three matchday squads and fitness, as Moyes suggested, does not appear to be the issue. It is an insult to the 24-year-old someone as wasteful as Ryan Giggs and the profligate Danny Welbeck are preferred ahead of him.