Full-time: United 1-0 Liverpool
United didn't play particularly well but Hernandez's predatory punishing of terrible Liverpool defending gave them a win they badly need to salve some of the sores of the weekend's derby humiliation. The celebrations by Moyes and the players at the end showed how much they needed this. For Liverpool, meanwhile, Suarez grew into the game and emerged as their most dangerous forward player, as usual, but that seemed to coincide with Sturridge's worst performance since his arrival at the club. The absence of Coutinho was severely felt too, as on countless occasions Liverpool got themselves into good position only to sabotage themselves with a sloppy final ball.
90+2 min: There's a jubilant atmosphere in Old Trafford, with Giggs gesticulating to the crowd to encourage them to crank the noise up even louder. They have been outplayed for long periods but you get the feeling that this could prove an important victory for United, helping to gain greater acceptance of the new regime. For now, at least.
90 min: United substitution: Nani off; Welbeck on.
88 min: More shoddiness in the box prevents Liverpool from scoring. This has been such a nearly performance from them. Suarez created the opening, Touré should have got a shot on target but his effort from 13 yards was heading wide. Sturridge tried to knock it in from close range but missed ... and was offside anyway.
87 min: Suarez tonks the freekick straight into the wall, bringing sincere commiserations from the home crowd.
86 min: Sterling skips past three players and is then tripped by Jones, who also escapes another booking. Freekick to Liverpool some 33 yards out.
84 min: Giggs, on a yellow, boots the ball away and begins arguing with Henderson. The ref takes a lenient view. Now if that were Suarez ...
82 min: Liverpool change: Moses off, Sterling on.
80 min: Touch of the Djimi Traors about Sturridge tonight. Yet again he loses possession while failing to control his feet.
79 min: Sumptuous chip by Giggs to Buttner, who was already going down before feeling slight contact from Touré. Clattenberg wisely rejects the appeals for a penalty.
76 min: Rooney curls the ball over the wall and towards the far side of the goal but Mignolet punches it to safety. At least, he thought it was safety but from the resultant throw-in United worked the ball back to Rooney, who unleashed a vicious swirler that brought another awkward save from the keeper.
75 min: Henderson booked for pushing over Rafael on the edge of the Liverpool penalty area. Proper order. Rooney fancies the freekick ...
73 min: United susbtitutions: Carrick and Januzaj on; Kagawa and Hernandez off
72 min: Jones gets a nick to a Suarez freekick to turn it on to the bar and out!
71 min: Fine reaction save by De Gea as Liverpool's pressure continues to build! After Smalling headed a dangerous Gerrad cross away, Enrique lifted it back into the penalty area and Moses met it with a powerful diving header. De Gea parried.
69 min: Wonderful shimmy by Suarez to elude Jones in the box ... but he then drives shot into the sidenetting. "Is Sturridge refusal to use his right foot part of some sort of charity fundraising effort?" sputters Nick Cotter.
67 min: Liverpool change: Lucas off, Kelly on. Henderson, who has been awful so far, will switch into the centre while Kelly marauds down the right. In theory.
65 min: Sturridge turns and runs at the United defence, then lays a ball off to Gerrard, who wasn't anticipating it ... Enrique retrieves it ... then lashes a woeful effort way wide. Suarez checks his diary to count down the days to the re-opening of the transfer window.
64 min: Nani taps the ball to Kagawa, who turns slyly past Lucas and rollicks towards the box. He lets fly from 20 yards and his shot skims the crossbar on the way over!
62 min: Scrappy.
60 min: Now there's a pointless corner routine: Suarez lobs a ball over to Enrique, of all people, 25 yards out ... and the full-back duly wafts a shot into De Gea's arms. The keeper quickly hurls the ball forward and suddenly United are in the Liverpool box. Kagawa tees up Nani, whose shot failed to hit the target.
58 min: Smalling gifts the ball to Suarez 30 yards out and is grateful that Rafael deflects the Uruguayan's shot wide.
55 min: Liverpool are looking more and more dangerous. Evans does well to block a Suarez shot and then heads an Enrique cross behind for a corner...
54 min: Nani performs a tribute to Ashley Young in the box. The referee is not impressed.
54 min: Liverpool's best chance of the game is forged by the foraging of Moses. The ball breaks to Henderson, who tries to send a low sidefooter into the corner from 14 yards ... but instead sends it four yards wide.
52 min: Sakho slips over and suddenly Kagawa has a chance to race on to the ball and towards the box ... but Enrique out-sprints him and clears the danger.
50 min: The Touré Shuffle bamboozles Buttner and allows the Ivorian to fire in a dangerous cross. But Sturridge flicks out a foot and fails to get a touch.
48 min: Symptomatic of much of Liverpool's attacking so far, Moses plays in Sturridge, who can't quite sort his feet out, nor make up his mind what he wants to do before three Untied players converge on him and relieve him of the ball.
GOAL! United 1-0 Liverpool (Hernandez 46)
That's a ridiculous goal for Liverpool to concede. Rooney clipped a corner into the near post, where Gerrard made a pitiful attempt to head clear and Enrique let Hernandez dart in front of him and flip into the net.
46 min: United get the second half going. There are no personnel changes but let's hope the second half is better than the first.
"I think it's hilarious the stick that Moyes has been getting at United," guffaws Paul S. "I would live Kagawa to get a run in the team but he has done nothing to prove that he is one if United's best players. Yes, he has shown glimpses but I would love for people to show me examples of how he had shown consistency in a United shirt, regardless if playing on the left or behind the striker where he has done nothing to prove he should be playing there ahead of Rooney. Moyes also got a lot of stick for his team selection against City but Valencia, Young and Rooney all started the same game that we won last season."
Half-time: United 0-0 Liverpool
United started well but Liverpool were the superior team for the last half hour or so without forging clear chances. There is a lot of tension and a lot of errors but you get the feeling there is a great match lurking below the surface somewhere. In sum, it's been plod so far.
45 min: United are being penned into their own third as Liverpool probe. But still the lack of a precise final ball means De Gea, like Mignolet, has had little to do.
42 min: After a Hernandez shot is charged down, Kagawa clips a cross towards the back post but Sakho heads clear in commanding style.
41 min: Giggs booked for bundling over Moses, joining Lucas on a yellow.
40 min: Rooney treats Sakhop to a crash-course in Premier League etiquette: as the new recruit from PSG considered where to play his pass out, Rooney rushed up and sent him and the ball into touch, bringing a huge approving cheer from the home crowd.
39 min: Lovely interplay involving Moses, Suarez and Sturridge but again it just fails to conclude with a shot, as United scramble the ball away at the last.
36 min: A goal would be ideal, but at this point I'll settle for a decent shot on target.
35 min: Sakho appears to have steadied himself since his shaky opening and Liverpool's three-man defence has worked well. A rare United attack ends with Rooney fizzing in a dangerous cross that the Frenchman nuts clear.
33 min: Touré clips a clever ball through to Henderson, who again fails to choose the right option from the right, although his cross does yield a corner.
31 min: United discover a second wind and Rafael, Kagawa and Hernandez link up sharply down the right but Hernandez can't quite manoeuvre himself into a shooting position.
30 min: As if to increase Alex Thorpe's dismay, Kagawa gives the ball away at the edge of his own box and is grateful that Sturridge's cross is deflected out for a corner.
27 min: A Sturridge shot is deflected behind for a corner. Smalling heads the delivery behind for another one. This time Liverpool take it short, catching United dozing. But Henderson's dink into the box is over-hit. Suarez retrieves it out wide and his cross back in is similarly poor. "For the amount of outcry there's been over his absence from the team, he's been dire so far tonight," notes Alex Thorpe. "Maybe a lack of match practice, but he's given it away about 5 times already. If he's been like that in training no wonder Moyes doesn't fancy him."
25 min: United eventually put an end to three minutes of almost constant Liverpool possession and probing.
22 min: It's not all tippy-tappy under Rodgers: Enrique has just sent a superb long ball over the head of Evans. if Suarez's touch had been slightly better he would have had a clear shot on goal from eight yards; instead he let the ball run a tad too far in front of him and De Gea pounced at his feet to snaffle it.
20 min: Liverpool are beginning to find some fluency. Sturridge and Suarez combined neatly just now to send the former racing away from Evans and into the box. But his shot selection was dreadful, flipping the ball way wide from 16 yards with the outside of his foot.
18 min: Liverpool build nicely down the right before Moses feeds Suarez, who goes skedaddling into the box. His shot is blocked by Evans.
16 min: There are hints of exciting things to come but so far there has been too much inaccuracy and too many elementary blunders for this game to take off.
14 min: Enrique confuses himself at the back and loses possession to Nani. Fortunately for Liverpool, Sakho strides across to tidy up. Sakho, by the way, is one of Liverpool's three centrebacks, along with Skrtel and Touré.
12 min: Liverpool are growing into the game. Buttner has just been forced to strain to head the ball away from Sturridge after a dainty cross by Enrique. Jones clears the subsequent corner.
11 min: Suarez's first touch is a canny ball through to Gerrard. And then he sets off in search of a return and almost collects it in front of goal but is crowded out by Jones, Evans and Smalling.
9 min: Evidence of Suarez's rustiness. Henderson made a bold break forward and slipped the ball into the path of the striker, who mis-read his intentions and was running away with his back to the ball.
8 min: Suarez hasn't touch the ball yet.
6 min: A foul on Sturridge gives Gerrard a chance to apply some pressure on United but his freekick into the box is headed out as far as Enriqué, who treads on the ball - that may have looked like the work of a frothing galoot but it was actually an elegant summary of Liverpool's performance so far.
4 min: United have been dominant in these early stages, playing with great vibrancy. Skrtel had to deflect a Hernandez shot behind just now.
3 min: Wonderfully deft and incisive interplay between Kagawa and Giggs, before Touré intervenes to prevent the Japanese from getting off a shot.
1 min: Sakho's first touch does not augur well: Giggs misdirected a pass and the defender headed straight to Hernandez, whose shot was charged down. The danger dies but that'll do nothing for Sakho's nerves.
1 min: Liverpool, for those of you watching in black and white, are wearing black and white. They kick off.
Liverpool fans serenade Suarez, who responds with a thumbs-up gesture.
Klickety-klack, klickety klack ...
The teams stride down the tunnel and enter the arena. Suarez is last out for Liverpool and looks nonchalant. Booing will never bother him.
"From what Moyes says, are we to take it that he hasn't watched Kagawa play?" warbles Eoin Reynolds. "Hasn't viewed any videos of him or checked him out in training? It seems a strange thing to suggest that one of his best players, who plays in a position United have been desperate to fill, is a stranger to the manager." I reckon it's just an extension of what he said to the player beforehand: you want to be a regular, go out and show me how good you are. Having said that, Moyes' PR has been a little off ever since he took the job - his suggestion after United's defeat to the formidable Singha All Stars in his first match was Roy Hodgson-esque: "I was pleased with the way they kept at it," he ventured!
"Can I make a smug pronouncement?" I bet you can, Ian Copestake. "All those people excited by this match not because they support either one of the teams but because they want to see what "he" will do should stop complaining in the future about his very existence when he goes bonkers again. Just enjoy him and cover your children's eyes."
Moyes explains his eight changes from the City game
"I had top make sure I had a chance to look at some of the other players. The tough opening fixtures so far have prevented me from doing that. This is a tough game but but I have to have a look at them sometime."
"He's looked really good. It's been difficult to get to know him that well because he's been away on international duty a lot. Everyone keeps telling me how good he is so hopefully we'll see that tonight."
Rodgers explains his strong selection
"We've got five players missing and we don't yet have the depth of squad. We also want to pay respect to the competition and we don't play [again] until Sunday afternoon."
"The big question is will he or won't he? Shake hands with Alex Buttner, that is," chortles Paul Ewart. "On a lighter note, this is a tough one to call. I'd rather we took this opportunity to rest Gerrard, Lucas and, more importantly, Sturridge, but I can kind of understand why we haven't. Doesn't show much faith in the squad though. That may be because he hasn't much faith in the squad." Perhaps Rodgers takes the view that it's best to establish an insurmountable lead first and then he'll take Gerrard & Co. off at half-time?
"So, United are on the ropes after their weekend drubbing and we have Suarez back," summarises Phil Sawyer. "I therefore confidently predict that United will give us an absolute thrashing tonight. It's payday so I've bought myself a Lego Superman kit. If things are looking bleak at half time I'm going to take myself off and build that instead. You know, technically I'm an eligible bachelor."
Predictions, and other piffle
"I'm alone and dejected in Hanover airport so I'm counting on your MBM to brighten my already miserable existence," blubs Lee Martindale. "Saying that, I've just had a delicious calf's liver so its not that gloomy. Liverpool to win with a Suarez hat-rick....or Liverpool to lose after having Suarez sent off after seven minutes for eating a ball boy."
"I can't see this match finishing eleven aside," reveals Maurice Edworthy. "My bet is Rafael and Suarez will tangle in a way that provokes a mass brawl. "
He's back! Suarez starts ...
United: De Gea; Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Buttner; Nani, Jones, Giggs, Kagawa; Hernandez, Rooney
Subs: Anderson, Carrick, Welbeck, Fabio Da Silva, Zaha, Amos, Januzaj.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Sakho, Touré, Skrtel, Enrique; Henderson, Lucas, Gerrard; Moses, Suarez, Sturridge
Subs: Brad Jones, Alberto, Aspas, Sterling, Ibe, Kelly, Wisdom
Ref: M Clattenberg
To quote René Magritte word for word: ceci n'est pas une League Cup tie. It is far more than that. It is, in fact, a large block of wood that one or other of these sides is going to hew into a mighty bludgeon and hand to the other team's supporters to beat their manager over the head with, metaphorically and repeatedly.
David Moyes is already taking a battering as doubts grow about his ability to manage as well as Sir Alex Ferguson (whose last decision as manager was, lest we forget, to recommend Moyes). Liverpool have already beaten United once this season and if they were to do so again, just days after Manchester City shoved United over and stood there pointing and laughing at them, then Moyes will come under even heavier pressure and none of his twaddle about dodgy fixture lists will relieve it. Still, at least Moyes now accepts that United need new players. Expect them and to try to address that in January. At around 11.55pm on January 31, to be precise.
Meanwhile, if Liverpool lose, then the view of Brendan Rodgers will darken: some Liverpool supporters began believing in a brighter future after their successful start but others pointed out that significant problems remain in the team and they could just as easily have lost all their matches this season. Is Rodgers grand plan starting to bear fruit or it is fundamentally flawed? The answer to that tends to fluctuate from match to match. What will it be tonight?
Oh, and we may also be about the witness the second coming of Luis Suarez. Bring it!