Two Steven Gerrard penalties helped Liverpool to a crushing 3-0 victory at bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday to leave them breathing down the necks of Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Gerrard's strikes either side of halftime put the visitors in control and Luis Suarez sealed only Liverpool's second win at Old Trafford in nearly 10 years with a well-taken third.
Skipper Gerrard could have completed a rare hat-trick of spot kicks but struck the post after Nemanja Vidic was red-carded for tripping Daniel Sturridge shortly before Suarez completed the rout.
Gerrard's first penalty after 33 minutes followed a deliberate handball by Rafael that could have earned the defender a second yellow card, while his second shortly after the break was for a clumsy Phil Jones challenge on Joe Allen.
United's afternoon went from bad to worse when Vidic sent Sturridge sprawling in the area with a lunging tackle and though Gerrard could not beat David de Gea for a third time Suarez's neat finish after 84 minutes capped a dazzling Liverpool display.
Defeat left United languishing in seventh place with 48 points, 11 adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal who are in action later on Sunday at north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.