Premier League: Sir Alex Ferguson relieved to win Liverpool derby


Manchester United legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his relief after Manchester United survived a late Liverpool rally to beat their Premier League rivals 2-1. The success maintained United seven points clear at the top of the table.

Ferguson said: "Some of our defending after our lead was halved was a bit erratic and even desperate at times. But we managed to get through it. The name of the game is winning. There are moments where you have to defend. This was one of them."

United had opened up a two-goal lead through Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic before substitute Daniel Sturridge pulled one back for the visitors. The new Liverpool signing then failed to convert a late chance as the home side held on for a win which maintained their advantage over second-placed Manchester City, who won 2-0 at Arsenal later on Sunday.

"I would have taken that score against Liverpool before the game," said Ferguson. "The first-half performance, and until we scored the second goal, was absolutely brilliant. It was as good a performance as we have had for a long time and we should have been three or four up, but when they got their goal they got inspired by it. Their supporters got going and it was hard work after that. I am just glad we won the match."

United are now 24 points ahead of eighth-place Liverpool, and before the game Ferguson had claimed he did not know where the Reds were in the table. But he added: "Winning against Liverpool is important. It doesn't matter where you are in the league. Manchester United-Liverpool games are fantastic challenges. They are the two most successful teams in the country. Today hopefully those three points will be very important."

Manchester United's next match is the FA Cup replay against West Ham, on January 16. Here are the odds for that match from Bet365:

Man Utd win - 3/10
Draw - 9/2
West Ham win - 8/1

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