Brendan Rodgers admitted he was taken aback when David Moyes had declared Liverpool were the favourites to win at Old Trafford and said he would never have said the same about any visitors to Anfield.
Liverpool justified Moyes’ billing by winning 3-0 with two penalties from captain Steven Gerrard as well as Luis Suarez’s 25th goal of the prolific season but Rodgers said that, unlike his Manchester United counterpart, it was not in his nature to be so defeatist before a game.
He explained: “I was probably surprised before the game when I heard we were supposedly coming to Old Trafford as favourites. I would never say that at Liverpool -- even if I was bottom of the league.
“Anfield is Anfield. We expect to win and we have a mentality that has been developing over 18 months which we expect to win home and away and the belief is in the players and you see that in their game.”
While United are seventh, the position Liverpool finished 12 months ago, Rodgers insisted his first season at Anfield should not be likened to Moyes’ difficult start at Old Trafford.
He added: “It is incomparable where we were at. He [Moyes] came in and they were champions with world-class players. We were eighth when I came in and there was a hell of a lot of work to do.”
Rodgers saluted his players for their performance as they ended the club’s run of six straight defeats at Old Trafford.
He said: “I thought we were outstanding -- from the first whistle our intent was to attack and press and to work. Clearly I am very happy. To dominate the game like that was very pleasing. I thought we could've had more goals.”
However, although Liverpool have taken 26 points from their last 10 league games, Rodgers downplayed talk of winning a first league title since 1990.
He said: “We are up there on merit so of course we have an opportunity but I'm not losing sleep over it. We have better things to talk about.”
Liverpool were awarded three penalties but Rodgers said: “We are a team who gets penalties because of our aggression in our attack.”
He said United captain Nemanja Vidic’s sending off was “harsh” but defended his striker Daniel Sturridge against accusations he dived for the penalty that brought the Serb’s red card and Liverpool’s third spot kick.
Rodgers explained: “Vidic isn't going to get back and Daniel has a choice: he either stamps on him or tries to hurdle him, and he tried to hurdle him.”
He also supported referee Mark Clattenburg’s decision not to dismiss Rafael da Silva, who, having been booked, then conceded the first penalty.
The Liverpool manager said: “It was definitely a handball but I don't think Rafael should've been sent off. By the rule he should've been sent off because the consequence is you get a penalty.”