Wayne Rooney proved he was worth his weight in gold to Manchester United with a man of the match performance in a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday.
Twenty-four hours after signing a new four-year contract that media reports said was worth £300,000 a week, the England forward repaid the faith of manager David Moyes with a stunning volley in the 68th minute.
Rooney's strike came six minutes after Robin van Persie had converted a penalty and secured a comfortable away win, their first of 2014, against a tough Palace side.
"Sometimes when Wayne doesn't have time to think he does things naturally," Moyes told a news conference after the champions rose one place in the table to sixth, 15 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Rooney has made 431 appearances for United, notching 209 goals. He is fourth on the club's scoring list and is eyeing Bobby Charlton's record of 249.
Reds win 4-3
Liverpool tightened their grip on fourth place after Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson each scored twice in a jittery 4-3 win over Swansea City on Sunday. Swansea hit back to level from 2-0 and 3-2 down at Anfield, before Henderson finally killed off their resistance in the 74th minute to take Liverpool back to within four points of leaders Chelsea.
It was a 10th consecutive home league win for Liverpool and gave Brendan Rodgers's side a provisional six-point lead over fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur, who visit Norwich City later on Sunday.
"The strong part of our game came through," said Rodgers. "Our offensive game is very aggressive and we've got goals in the team, but we're disappointed with the goals we conceded.
"We're just focused on winning games and no-one's really talking about us for the title; everything's about Chelsea, (Manchester) City and Arsenal. We'll just try to continue to improve."