Manchester United manager David Moyes says he is finding succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson a more difficult job than he anticipated as a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool dealt another blow to their season.
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Steven Gerrard scored two penalties and hit the post with a third - for which Nemanja Vidic was sent off - before Luis Suarez finally put United out of their misery.
Moyes had issues with some of the decisions made by referee Mark Clattenburg, not least Liverpool's third penalty and Glen Johnson's handball which went unpunished, but had the good grace to accept his side were out-played - something increasingly disgruntled United fans will not like hearing.
"We didn't play well, Liverpool deserved their victory," said the Scot after a ninth league defeat of the season and a fifth at home.
"Some decisions were correct, some were incorrect. but overall I'm disappointed.
"It is difficult to explain it."
This season United have won just once against clubs in the top nine and Moyes said that was obviously something that had to change.
"That tells you we're not doing as well as we should be. We have to play better and make ourselves harder to beat, harder to play against and we are also going to have to make sure we are creating and taking more opportunities," he said.
"We have a lot to do to do both those things. I think the job was always going to be hard. Yes, it is harder (than I thought) I would say so."
Following Ferguson was never going to be easy but the way Moyes is conducting himself is almost the opposite of his predecessor.
Counterpart Brendan Rodgers was taken aback the Red Devils boss played the underdog card in his pre-match press conference.
"I was probably surprised when I heard we were supposedly coming to Old Trafford here as favourites," said the Liverpool manager.
"I would never say that at Liverpool - even if I was bottom of the league."
Moyes tried to justify his pronouncement by saying: "I just thought Liverpool were above us in the league and playing well and I thought any average person would have said the same thing."
The United boss felt Liverpool's second - just a minute after the break - changed the complexion of the game.
"I thought the real turning moment was the second penalty just after half-time," he added.
"To lose that made it dificult for us. There wasn't a great deal in it at half-time.
"There was a handball from Glen Johsnon in a similar position (to where Rafael was penalised for the opening spot-kick) which wasn't given. Nevertheless I can't have any qualms about it.
"There were quite a few decisions but I won't speak about it, it seems the best way to go about it. Us managers are better not commenting on decisions in games.
"I felt the players looked in good shape going into it. We just didn't quite get to the standards required to beat Liverpool today.
"I've said it all week I've seen confident and well-motivated and hard-working players.
"I think goals change games very quickly. We didn't start as well as we liked but I thought we started to grow into the game and the penalty kick changed that in the first half."
Wayne Rooney described Manchester United's defeat as one of the darkest days of his career.
"It's one of the worst days I've ever had in football," the United striker told MUTV.
"It's hard to take. You have to give Liverpool credit - they played well - but it's difficult to take. Nobody wants to lose, especially in this way, in your own stadium. It's not nice."
Rooney admits United were always going to struggle once they had gifted Liverpool their first goal.
"To go behind by one penalty was hard to take," Rooney said. "We had a game plan for the second half, which went out the window when they got the second penalty so early on.
"It made it an uphill battle to come back. I thought after that we had a couple of chances where I thought if we got one we could have gone for a second and maybe we could have done it.
"Obviously it didn't happen, though.
"Then, to concede a third penalty, even though they missed, was a big blow to us. We were then chasing the game with 10 men. That made it difficult for us and they kept the ball well to see the game out."
Gerrard is adamant Liverpool are genuine title contenders.
"We've showed today that we are genuine contenders and we are going to fight to the end for this," Gerrard told Sky Sports 1.
"We believe it but I've said many times that in football the easiest thing to do is talk the talk.
"We've got to go and treat Cardiff (their next match) like Manchester United and we've got to treat Sunderland like Manchester United.
"If we do we will win a lot of games until the end of the season. The rest of the teams around us have to believe we're going for it."