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Xherdan Shaqiri, Liverpool overcome Alisson's mistake, add to Man United's woe

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Liverpool exorcise demons against Manchester United (2:56)

With Liverpool getting their first league win over Manchester United since 2014, FC's Shaka Hislop examines the gulf in class between the two sides. (2:56)

LIVERPOOL, England -- Three thoughts from Anfield on Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester United in the Premier League.

1. Shaqiri sends Liverpool back to the top

Substitute Xherdan Shaqiri struck twice in the space of nine minutes to seal a 3-1 victory for Liverpool against Manchester United and send Jurgen Klopp's team back to the top of the Premier League.

United, with Paul Pogba an unused substitute after once again being dropped by manager Jose Mourinho, looked set to claim a draw after Jesse Lingard had cancelled out Sadio Mane's first-half opener following a mistake by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.

But Shaqiri's late intervention secured a deserved win for Liverpool that moves them a point ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table.

United, meanwhile, now find themselves 11 points adrift of the top four after losing for the fifth time in the league. Damningly, they have now conceded 29 league goals -- one more than they shipped in the league in the whole of last season.

Liverpool's win was hard-earned, however, with Klopp's team unable to display the free-flowing attacking football that has defined their season.

Having overseen two 0-0 draws here in the past two seasons, Mourinho once again set out his team to defend, but Mane's 24th-minute opener forced the visitors into a more proactive approach.

Lingard's goal was a reward for that and United were more adventurous in the second half, but Shaqiri's double gave Liverpool the points and deservedly so.

2. Alisson proves he's human after all

Alisson has certainly experienced the highs and lows of goalkeeping over the past five days.

The Liverpool keeper was heralded as the best in the Premier League, if not the world, after his crucial stoppage-time save from Arkadiusz Milik in midweek preserved the victory which guaranteed a place in the Champions League knockout stages for Jurgen Klopp's team.

But he went from hero to zero here on 33 minutes by committing an absolute howler to gift Jesse Lingard an equaliser for Manchester United in front of The Kop.

It was the third time this season that a mistake by Alisson has led to Liverpool conceding a league goal and no Premier League keeper has committed more errors that have directly led to goals.

But despite this, Alisson is regarded as being a key figure in Liverpool's emergence as title contenders because he has also produced big saves at big moments.

He is not superhuman, regardless of his wonder save against Napoli, but he is also not hopeless on the basis of another costly mistake.

Liverpool have had a series of error-prone goalkeepers over the years, and Alisson may yet add his name to those of David James, Jerzy Dudek, Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.

But while it has been premature for some to label him as the best in the Premier League after less than half a season, it would also be foolish to suggest that he is a weak link after the Lingard mistake.

3. Lingard proves his worth

Jesse Lingard divides opinion among Manchester United fans, with the homegrown midfielder regarded by many as too often doing little to impact games.

He has his supporters, however, and they would quite rightly point to his performance at Anfield as proof that he can make a difference when it matters.

This was a United team set up by Jose Mourinho to defend and frustrate Liverpool, but Lingard was the one midfielder capable of turning defence into attack with his pace and movement.

Lingard's goal in the first half, which cancelled out Sadio Mane's opener for Liverpool, was an example of his willingness to break forward and gamble on a positive outcome, with the England midfielder converting from the rebound after Alisson had spilled Romelu Lukaku's cross.

But as United attempted to score a second after the interval, it was Lingard who carried them forward with his runs in the middle third, causing problems for Liverpool's backline in the process.

Lingard's problem was that the passing options ahead of him were limited due to Lukaku playing a lone striker role.

United are not a team that is blessed with flair and creativity in the final third, but Lingard is currently the best option that they have.

And it highlights the restrictions placed on the team by Mourinho's tactics when you realise that Lingard's goal at Anfield was his first away from Old Trafford in the Premier League since Jan 1.