Dimitar Berbatov completed a brilliant hattrick six minutes from time to give Manchester United a 3-2 win over Liverpool on Sunday after a Steven Gerrard double had seemed set to earn the visitors a draw. United were dominant for the first hour with two goals for the Bulgarian, but two strikes in six minutes by Gerrard had the hosts reeling.
After late equalisers against Everton and Fulham cost them wins in earlier matches, United had time to find the winner and Berbatov got his third goal with a powerful header.
“I was saying to myself it's going to be 10 but you end up 2-2; it was a travesty of a scoreline but a great result in the end,” manager Alex Ferguson said. “They didn't offer anything really, Edwin (van der Sar) didn't have a save to make, (Paul) Scholes controlled the centre of midfield...I couldn't see us losing that game.”
Despite their early dominance, United had to wait until the 42nd minute to find the net as Berbatov shook off a weak challenge from Fernando Torres to head in a Ryan Giggs corner. His second goal just before the hour was brilliantly executed as he brought down a cross on his thigh with his back to goal and scored with an overhead kick.
Liverpool, who had offered nothing in attack, profited from a rash challenge on Torres which enabled Gerrard to pull one back from the spot after 64 minutes. Another unnecessary foul six minutes later gave Liverpool a free kick on the edge of the box which Gerrard curled through a disintegrating wall for the most unexpected of equalisers.
United won back the lead six minutes from time when Berbatov timed his jump perfectly to head home a John O'Shea cross and score his seventh goal in six games this season. The win takes United to 11 points behind league leaders Chelsea.
Chelsea smash four past blackpool
London: Leaders Chelsea were impressive as they dispatched Blackpool 4-0. Salomon Kalou opened the scoring in the second minute and Florent Malouda scored twice while Didier Drogba bagged another. Eto’o scores a double for inter, Juve win
Milan: Samuel Eto'o shone yet again with both goals in Inter Milan's 2-1 comeback win at Palermo to send the champions joint top in Serie A on Sunday.
Slovenian Josip Ilicic put struggling Palermo ahead in the first half before Eto'o produced a piece of magic to equalise on 62 minutes following Milito's pass and soon finished off a fine move involving Dejan Stankovic and Maicon to seal victory.
After three games Inter lead the table on seven points, alongside promoted Cesena who beat Lecce 1-0. Juventus, whose poor form last term continued into the new season, bounced back with a 4-0 win at Udinese with striker Fabio Quagliarella scoring against his former club. AS Roma, runners-up last season, drew 2-2 with Bologna.