MX23RW : Thursday, September 20 20:43:40

On this day: Nemanja Vidic sees red again as Liverpool beat Manchester United

On this day in 2009 Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-0 to ease pressure on Rafael Benitez.

When Liverpool hosted Manchester United at Anfield on this day in 2009, there was an awful lot riding on it. Not only was it the biannual Premier League derby between these bitter rivals, but the points were important to the two teams for different reasons.

United were looking to return to the top of the league with their game in hand, having lost first place to Chelsea, who smashed Blackburn Rovers 5-0 on the Saturday.

Liverpool, conversely, were ninth and pressure was starting to build on manager Rafael Benitez. There would be nothing quite like a derby win to appease the board and fans, would there?

Benitez has received the dreaded vote of confidence building up to the game, which suggested that he was a defeat and a poor performance away from getting the sack. Fortunately for him, he had one of the best strikers in the world at the time at his disposal - Fernando Torres.

Fernando Torres of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on October 25, 2009© Getty Images

The game had everything that could be hoped for from a derby, but most importantly for Liverpool they took the points. They had to make do without the still-injured Steven Gerrard, who has a history of big performances against United, but in his absence the midfield pairing of Lucas Leiva and Javier Mascherano stepped up.

The most notable performances for United were the struggles of their centre-backs pairing against the pace and power of Torres. Vidic in particular was overrun and outmuscled by the Spaniard, which led to his third-straight sending-off against the Reds - although his second yellow was for a foul on Dirk Kuyt.

It was the hosts who came out to dominate the game, not wanting to suffer their fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions and certainly not to their great rivals. Edwin van der Sar was by far the busier goalkeeper in the first half, with a double save from Fabio Aurelio and then Kuyt as the Reds threw everything at an early goal.

Referee Alan Wiley shows a red card to Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 14, 2009© Getty Images

It did not arrive, however, and indeed United were looking very threatening on the break with Antonio Valencia particularly troublesome for Emiliano Insua. Wayne Rooney headed straight at Pepe Reina before Aurelio did the same at the other end when he should have done better.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 65th minute and it was, of course, Torres who made the breakthrough. His goal showed all the attributes that Torres has become known for in his time with Liverpool as he left Ferdinand behind with his pace before finishing powerfully and confidently.

The Kop was alive and were now taunting Michael Owen, who had been asked to warm up. As the game came to an end both Vidic and then Marscherano were sent off for second yellows and United pressed forward for an equaliser with a number of pot-shots in and around the Reds box.

Liverpool managed to ride out the threat and delivered the final blow deep into stoppage time as David N'Gog finished coolly from a Lucas pass on the break. Liverpool were back up to fifth, Benitez had some breathing room and the bragging rights for the next few months were with the Merseyside club.

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Manchester United's English striker Danny Welbeck celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Swansea City and Manchester United at Liberty Stadium in Swansea, south Wales, on August 17, 2013
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