Rooney bags two to lift United over Liverpool

The intense rivalry in Northwestern 1, at Old Trafford in a match that was not short of talking points.

All three goals came in the second half with Rooney grabbing two in the opening five minutes of the restart and the always controversial Luis Suarez notching one for Liverpool 10 minutes from time, but the match could very well be remembered for the drama off the pitch.

The players were on edge from the start. After being convicted of racially abusing Patrice Evra in the first meeting between Liverpool and United this season, Suarez refused to shake hands with the Red Devils captain prior to kickoff.

The drama resulting from the pre-match handshakes had simmered with no controversy in first-half play, but players from both sides exchanged some words at halftime after Suarez kicked the ball away at the close of the opening period, much to the displeasure of several United players. The confrontation allegedly carried over into the tunnel, as there was a reported bust-up as both sides headed into their respective dressing rooms.

Scoring chances were at a premium for the opening 30 minutes. The best chance fell to Paul Scholes following some impressive build-up play in the 31st minute.

After a quick exchange with Rooney just outside the top of the box, Scholes lifted the ball out wide to find Ryan Giggs on the left flank. The Welshman delivered a cross and connected with Scholes, but the midfielder placed his powerful header directly at Liverpool 'keeper Pepe Reina.

Manchester United emerged from the locker room in top gear as Rooney grabbed goals in the 47th and 50th minutes.

The first came just 1:18 after the whistle. A corner kick from Giggs was flicked on to Rooney at the back post, and the England international made no mistake with the opportunity, volleying a first-time into the roof of the net.

Rooney doubled the advantage in the 50th minute following a giveaway at midfield from Liverpool's Jay Spearing. Rooney latched on to the ensuing through ball and slid his effort between the legs of Reina and into the back of the net.

Liverpool played at a lethargic pace with a two-goal deficit staring back at them.

But they pulled one back 10 minutes from time, and it was none other than Suarez who provided the finishing touch. A free kick sent into the box was not properly cleared by the Manchester United defense, and it fell right into the lap of the Uruguayan. Suarez calmly stuffed his close-range effort past David De Gea to cut United's lead in half.

The 80th minute strike failed to spark a comeback for the Reds as the final whistle blew to wrap up a 2-1 victory in favor of the home side.

The drama did not end after the final whistle though, as Evra celebrated the victory openly in front of Suarez and his Liverpool teammates. Evra's joy did not get a reaction from the Uruguayan, but several of his teammates appeared visibly irked. The referee minimized the effect of the confrontation by preventing Evra from immediately heading back to the dressing room, ensuring that he was the last player down the tunnel.

Manchester United improve to 58 points on the season, good enough for first place in the Premier League. The Red Devils, with a game in hand, sit one point above Manchester City, which is set to face Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

Liverpool is winless in its last two league fixtures and remains in seventh place on 39 points.

Tottenham 5, Newcastle 0

London, England - Tottenham cruised to a supremely comfortable win at White Hart Lane on Saturday, thrashing Newcastle 5-0 in North London.

Spurs found themselves in front by four goals by halftime as Louis Saha bagged a brace and Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Niko Kranjcar both scored a goal apiece. Emanuel Adebayor tacked on a fifth goal for Tottenham in the second period.

Tottenham remains in third place with 53 points, trailing second-place Manchester City by four points. Newcastle falls to sixth place on 42 points after Arsenal picked up a win over Sunderland earlier in the day.

Everton 2, Chelsea 0

Liverpool, England - Everton heaped more pressure on Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea on Saturday, earning a 2-0 win over the Blues at Goodison Park.

Steven Pienaar opened the scoring in the fifth minute and Denis Stracqualursi secured the win with a goal in the 71st minute.

Chelsea has claimed just three points from its last four Premier League matches as it slips out of fourth place on 43 points.

Everton, unbeaten in its last five league contests, takes sole possession of 10th place in the table by improving to 33 points.

Norwich City 3, Swansea City 2

Swansea, Wales - Norwich City came out on top in Saturday's battle of two newly-promoted clubs as the Canaries edged Swansea City, 3-2, at the Liberty Stadium.

Danny Graham bagged a brace for the home side with a goal in the 23rd minute and a penalty in the 87th minute, but he was undone by two goals from Grant Holt and another from Anthony Pilkington.

Norwich City becomes just the second club, joining Manchester United, to take three points at the Liberty Stadium this season. The Canaries climb into eighth place in their astounding campaign thus far with 35 points, while the Swans sit in 11th place with 30 points.

Arsenal 2, Sunderland 1

Sunderland, England - There was high drama at the Stadium of Light on Saturday as Arsenal struck late to claim a 2-1 victory over Sunderland.

The Black Cats initially took the lead following a miscue from Per Mertesacker. James McClean capitalized, getting through on goal slipping a shot past Wojciech Szczesny in the 70th minute. Aaron Ramsey equalized for the Gunners five minutes later with a shot form the top of the box.

Arsenal did not take the lead until second-half stoppage time when Andre Arshavin delivered a pinpoint cross to Gunners legend Thierry Henry. The French striker leaped and redirected a shot into the back of the net to hand the visitors all three points.

Unbeaten in their last three Premier League games, the Gunners move into fourth place in the table with 43 points. The Black Cats see their three-game winning run come to end as they fall to ninth place on 33 points.

Fulham 2, Stoke City 1

London, England - Two first-half goals powered Fulham to a 2-1 victory over visiting Stoke City on Saturday.

Newly-acquired striker Pavel Pogrebnyak marked his debut with a goal as he opened the scoring in the 16th minute. The lead was doubled 12 minutes later thanks to an own goal from Stoke City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen. Ryan Shawcross pulled one back for the Potters in the 78th minute, but it failed to spark a comeback.

The Cottagers climb to 12th place in the table with 30 points. They are tied with the Potters, who drop their fourth straight league match.

Wigan 2, Bolton 1

Bolton, England - Wigan earned a much-needed win on Saturday, defeating Bolton, 2-1, at the Reebok.

The Latics took the lead just before halftime through Gary Caldwell. Mark Davies equalized for the Trotters in the 67th minute, but it was undone by James McArthur nine minutes later as the Scottish midfielder handed the visitors three vital points.

Wigan remains bottom on 19 points but inches closer to a spot outside of the relegation zone, while Bolton sits just one point better than the Latics.

Blackburn 3, QPR 2

Blackburn, England - Blackburn snapped a two-game losing skid on Saturday with a 3-2 victory over QPR at Ewood Park.

Rovers had a three-goal advantage by halftime thanks to Aiyegbeni Yakubu, Steven N'Zonzi, and an own goal from Nedum Onuoha, but QPR fell just short with a comeback as Jamie Mackie bagged a second-half brace to give the visitors a more respectable scoreline.

The two clubs are tied on 21 points apiece, but QPR sits just outside the relegation zone with a superior goal differential.