Manchester United beat rivals Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford as they strengthened their grip on top spot.
But it could have been different had Brendan Rodgers’ side not been so wasteful in front of goal in the closing stages of the match.
The game started slowly with Robin Van Persie having two shots blocked but it was only a matter of time before the hotshot found the back of the net.
After 19 minutes Patrice Evra found room on the left wing and his low, inch-perfect cross was deftly flicked home by the Dutchman who scored his 17th Premier League goal of the season from eight-yards.
And Martin Skrtel was the hero for Liverpool as his outstretched leg stopped Van Persie’s cute backheel from crossing the goalline just before the break.
Brendan Rodgers brought on Daniel Sturridge at the interval as he looked to strike back but it was the Red Devils who scored next to make it 2-0.
Nine minutes into the second half, Welbeck, who proved a menace for the Liverpool defence as he played just off Van Persie, was felled by Skrtel and the Dutchman’s free-kick was met by Patrice Evra and deflected into the back of the net by Nemanja Vidic.
Pepe Reina, showing no ill-effects from an earlier clash with Shinji Kagawa, saved the Japanese midfielder’s 20-yard hit after the hour-mark.
At the other end Fabio Borini on his return from injury lashed a volley wide and Sturridge wasted several chances from wide of the goal as the game wore on and Luis Suarez fluffed his lines when he put a late header straight at De Gea.
And Man United were able hang on to the three points despite the pressue exerted by their opponents.
The defeat means Liverpool stay eighth in the table and nine points behind fourth placed Tottenham Hotspur.