Young Januzaj lifts United gloom, Liverpool top

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United unearthed a sparkling gem to lighten the early-season gloom, Adnan Januzaj striking twice in a 2-1 win at Sunderland on Saturday after resurgent Liverpool stormed to the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool fans were celebrating a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace, Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard scoring, and their day seemed about to get even better as arch-rivals United trailed at bottom club Sunderland in the day's late kickoff.

The champions seemed to be heading to a third consecutive Premiership defeat for the first time in 12 years after Craig Gardner had given Sunderland a deserved first-half lead but 18-year-old Januzaj, given a first league start by David Moyes, spared their blushes.

He sidefooted a 55th-minute equaliser and six minutes later produced a sumptuous left-foot volley to seal three welcome points for a United side experiencing their worst start to a season since 1989.

Victory moved United up to ninth with 10 points from seven games, six behind Liverpool who seemed set for a goal avalanche against Palace after netting three times in the first half.

Manchester City bounced back from their midweek Bayern Munich mauling by beating Everton 3-1 to climb to third on 13 points.

French striker Loic Remy gave Newcastle United's under-pressure manager Alan Pardew some relief by scoring twice in a 2-1 victory at Cardiff City.

Fulham did the same for manager Martin Jol, edging past Stoke City 1-0 with Darren Bent's 83rd-minute winner, while Hull City drew 0-0 with Aston Villa.

Manager Moyes has been looking for some respite after consecutive league defeats by Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion and a none-too-convincing draw against Shakhtar Donetsk and he was rewarded for his decision to offer Januzaj a chance.

"I think a few players tonight should be worried about their positions," former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel told Sky Sports. "We've seen something special."

Januzaj, who has Kosovar-Albanian heritage but is wanted by Belgium, turned the game United's way after a first half which again illustrated their early-season woes.

VIDIC TANGLE

Nemanja Vidic got himself in a tangle to gift Gardner the chance to shoot Sunderland ahead and only a great save by David De Gea from a powerful Emanuele Giaccherini effort stopped them falling further behind by halftime.

Ten minutes after the interval Januzaj, who eclipsed Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney throughout, calmly fired in an equaliser with his right foot.

Six minutes later he locked his eyes on a superb Nani cross and unleashed a hip-high volley into the corner of the net, lifting a hefty weight off United in the process.

"He is a wonderful player, he is someone who we think a lot of. I have tried to get him in the team over the last few weeks but for various reasons it did not happen," said Moyes.

"At the moment we scored, we needed it but I wasn't getting too low. I thought it was exciting and I enjoyed it today."

Liverpool lead Arsenal by a point and the Londoners can regain top spot on Sunday at West Brom.

Suarez put Liverpool in front on 13 minutes, receiving Jose Enrique's cut-back and sliding home a finish despite lying on the turf after losing his balance.

It was his second goal in as many games in the wake of his suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season.

Four minutes later Sturridge fired a shot across goal and past keeper Julian Speroni.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told the BBC: "(Suarez and Sturridge) were exceptional today. Their combination play was outstanding and they are right up there with the best in this league."

Gerrard added his 99th league goal, tucking away a penalty in the 38th minute after Dean Moxey held back Raheem Sterling.

Palace fans might have been fearing a repeat of their 9-0 defeat at Anfield in 1989 but had something to cheer late on when Dwight Gayle nodded a 77th-minute consolation.

In the early kickoff at the Etihad Stadium, Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero scored to help Manchester City come from behind to beat Everton, easing the disappointment of their home defeat by Bayern in the Champions League on Wednesday.

City manager Manuel Pelligrini kept faith with Joe Hart despite the England keeper's mistakes in the Bayern defeat.

Hart was at fault after 16 minutes when he failed to keep out Romelu Lukaku's low left-foot shot.

It took just a minute for City to find an equaliser, Yaya Toure working an angle on the edge of the box to find Negredo's run and the Spaniard slipping his shot beneath keeper Tim Howard.

Aguero put City ahead just before the interval when David Silva fed the Argentine on the right of the area and the striker shot low past Howard into the far corner.

City got their third when Pablo Zabaleta was impeded by Seamus Coleman and Howard tipped Aguero's penalty on to the post only for the ball to bounce back, hit the keeper on the head and roll into the net for an own goal.

Fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur entertain London rivals West Ham United on Sunday while Chelsea, who are sixth, travel to Norwich City.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Wood, editing by Tony Jimenez)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have been able to purchase batting replacements for the loss of Michael Hussey and spin reinforcements in the form of Samuel Badree. They appear… More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »