Javier Hernandez's second half winner sent Manchester United through to the League Cup fourth round and upstaged Luis Suarez's Liverpool return.
Hernandez tapped home from Wayne Rooney's corner within 40 seconds of the second half as United's responded to their 4-1 weekend defeat to Manchester City in perfect fashion.
Suarez was unable to mark his first appearance for Liverpool since serving a ten-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic with a goal but he rattled the crossbar from a free-kick as the away side failed to add an end product in a game they dominated for long periods.
The 187th meeting between the two most successful teams in English league football was held against the backdrop of Suarez's return to the Liverpool first team, five months after being banned for biting Ivanovic in April.
The Uruguay international failed to manufacture a move away from Anfield during the summer transfer window and despite being given a second chance by manager Brendan Rodgers has much to prove to the club's hierarchy.
After a thumping defeat in the Manchester derby, David Moyes rung the changes with Chris Smalling, David de Gea and Rooney, who begun as captain, the only survivors from the demolition at the Etihad Stadium as Robin van Persie again missed out through injury.
Rodgers meanwhile named the strongest possible team available to him, partnering Suarez with Daniel Sturridge in attack while Victor Moses and Jordan Henderson also started.
Keen to make amends for Sunday's heavy defeat to City, United began on the front foot as both Nani and Rooney went close with blocked shots.
But as the half progressed, Suarez's influence began to swell and after Sturrridge poked wide after being put through by the returning Uruguyan, he almost had Liverpool ahead but miss-controlled Jose Enrique's cross.
Suarez and Sturridge combined once again before the latter's goalbound effort was deflected over by Jonny Evans as The Reds' dominance continued.
While Liverpool continued to look menacing without creating any clear-cut openings, United were struggling to recapture their dominance from the early stages.
Liverpool began the second 45 minutes in the knowledge they were yet to score a goal in the second half of matches this season, and their task of reaching the fourth round was made all the more difficult when Hernandez turned home Rooney's corner within a minute of the break.
It was now the turn of the visitors to summon the form of the first half and when Suarez went to exchange passes with Sturridge Liverpool appeared set to level but when the ball evaded the forward Henderson could only place the ball wide.
Suarez could twice have marked his return with a goal as United's defeence continued to look unsure but the hosts were now beginning to threaten on the break - Nani wasting a glorious chance after being set up by Shinji Kagawa.
Martin Kelly was introduced at right back with a quarter of the game remaining and his cross almost saw Liverpool level when Enrique volleyed back in and De Gea denied Victor Moses with a flying save.
United weren't out of jail though and Suarez hitthe crossbar with a swinging free-kick.
Simon Mignolet at the other end was then forced into two saves to deny Rooney a goal which would put United out of sight as the game became stretched in the final quarter of an hour.
However, Liverpool were felt to rue not finding the required cutting edge, De Gea palming away Gerrard' deflected cross the closest the visitors came, as United edged through to round four.
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