Hernandez strike ruins Suarez comeback
Manchester United delivered manager David Moyes some vitally needed breathing space last night, when Javier Hernandez struck in the League Cup third round to overcome a Liverpool side for whom returning Luis Suarez was an immediate asset.
United held firm against a full-strength Liverpool side, with Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling all making major contributions to the 1-0 win on a night when holders Swansea City's exit to Birmingham City was the big shock.
Moyes side drew Norwich City in the fourth round, with Manchester City handed a visit to Newcastle United.
"We had to bounce back. We lost at Liverpool and at the Etihad," Moyes said. "I got to see some players who have not played as much as they would have liked."
He lavished praise on Hernandez for the penalty area movement which brought his goal.
"The movement was great – real centre-forward's movement. That's everything they tell me about him," he said. "I thought it was a real good game – both teams went for it. Both games (in the league and League Cup against Liverpool) have been tight and sealed by a set-piece."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said that Suarez had shown what he would bring back to the side.
"I thought he was excellent," Rodgers said.
"You could tell he had been out and he tired towards the end. But he was always a threat – the way he rolled out of some actions. For the time he had been out, he did very well.
"I think sometimes you get games when you come back and the adrenalin tides you over and then you feel it. It's only natural. He is a fighter. His determination is so high."
He added: "It was a very close game decided on a corner at the beginning of the half that drops into six-yard box. We are disappointed with that. The players have given it everything."
Meanwhile, Stephen Ireland (left) marked his first start for Stoke City with the opening goal, while Peter Crouch struck with the last kick of the game to secure a 2-0 win over Tranmere for the Potters at Prenton Park. Their reward is an away trip to Birmingham in the next round.
The Irishman was at the heart of much of Stoke's good attacking play in the first half before being removed after an hour.
Hughes said: "I was really pleased for Stephen because he is desperate to do well here. I thought he was excellent. He got tired and we had to take him off, but he got his goal and that was reward for a good time out on the pitch."