Manchester, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata netted first-half goals on Sunday as Manchester United rolled to a 3-0 victory over fierce rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford, handing the club its sixth consecutive win in league play.
With only 30 miles separating the cities of Manchester and Liverpool, the clubs are heated foes and are the two most successful clubs in English football. But they came into Sunday's tilt on opposite ends of the form book as United began the day in third place, while Liverpool started things in ninth position.
The visitors had the better of the play for the opening few minutes as Raheem Sterling got in behind the United defense after 12 minutes, but his weak strike was easily handled by United goalkeeper David de Gea.
Less than a minute later, however, the home side opened the scoring when Antonio Valencia got free down the right flank and cut it back to an on- rushing Rooney, who blasted it low into the right corner, leaving Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones with no chance for a save.
The Red Devils then doubled their advantage five minutes before the break when a cross came into the area from the left wing and Robin van Persie got a flick on it and the ball came to Mata, who nodded it home at the back post for the 2-0 lead.
But the goal was not without some controversy as Van Persie's flicked pass appeared to leave Mata in an offside position as Red Devils went into the intermission with the two-goal lead.
Looking for an offensive spark, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers sent Mario Balotelli onto the pitch at the start of the second half and the Italy international created a bevy of quality scoring chances.
But each time, De Gea came up with an answer, finishing with an impressive eight saves on the day.
United added a third goal in the 71st minute when Mata stepped in front of a poor clearance on the edge of the penalty area and slid the ball to an open Van Persie, who snapped it home as the Liverpool back line raised arms in unison, pleading for an offside call which never came.
The Red Devils rolled the rest of the way for their sixth straight win in league play to improve to 31 points, while Liverpool drops into tenth place in the Premier League on 21 points from 16 matches.
Also in the Premier League on Sunday, Christian Eriksen's 89th-minute strike propelled Tottenham-Hotspur to a 2-1 win ovwe Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Spurs got off to a flying start, taking the lead thanks to a brilliant header from Harry Kane after just four minutes.
Swansea drew level three minutes into the second half with an excellent strike from Wilfried Bony, but Spurs grabbed the winning goal right at the death as Eriksen collected a well-placed pass from Ben Davies and slotted it into the bottom left corner past a diving Gerhard Tremmel.
The result lifts Spurs into seventh place in the Premier League with 24 points, just four behind West Ham United for the final Champions League place, while the Swans drop to ninth place on 22 points.