Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez ensured a memorable end to a remarkable week at Old Trafford as Wayne Rooney's understudy by scoring twice in the 2-1 win against Stoke here on Sunday.
And at Manchester, Arsenal underlined its credentials as serious contenders for the Premier League title with an emphatic 3-0 win against 10-man Manchester City.
Hernandez proved that the future at Old Trafford may not be as bleak as the England striker had feared with two goals to move United ahead.
Hernandez produced a moment of magic in the 27th minute with a brilliant finish off a header but Tuncay Sanli hit a stunning leveller nine minutes from time — Stoke's first Premier League goal against United in five attempts.
But, Mexican forward Hernandez gave United a potentially pivotal victory four minutes from the end.
United was in a buoyant mood after putting an end to the Rooney crisis, and fully focused on simply getting back into the title race with its first away win of the season in the Premier League.
United went ahead in the 27th minute when Nani's deep cross from the right was headed back into the area by Rio Ferdinand and Hernandez cleverly directed the ball past the flailing Thomas Sorensen. That Hernandez managed to use the back of his head to find the corner was further proof of his predatory instincts.
Stoke has upset many opponents at its Britannia Stadium but was strangely subdued in its attempts to get back into the game. Stoke battled valiantly and Tuncay, who has recently not even made the 18-man squad, came up with an exquisite curling equaliser.
But, Hernandez and United had the last laugh.
Arsene Wenger's side arrived at Eastlands with a miserable record in recent games against English football's leading teams, but it proved it can win when the stakes are highest thanks to goals from Samir Nasri, Alex Song and Nicklas Bendtner.
The Gunners took full advantage when City defender Dedryck Boyata was sent off after just four minutes.
Nasri gave Wenger's team the lead in some style midway through the first half and Cesc Fabregas even had a penalty saved by Joe Hart just before half time.
But Song's drive put the game beyond City, which suffered a first home defeat of the season.
Substitute Bendtner added Arsenal's third when he burst on to Nasri's pass and guided a shot past Hart with two minutes left.
City did not take long to demonstrate its pace and power with Carlos Tevez pulling away from Johan Djourou and crossing for David Silva's flick to be denied by Lukasz Fabianski.
But after just four minutes, City was reduced to 10 men when Fabregas played Marouane Chamakh through and he was tripped by Boyata just outside the area.
The results: Liverpool 2 (Kyrgiakos 48, Torres 53) bt Blackburn 1 (Carragher 50—og); Manchester City 0 lost to Arsenal 3 (Nasri 20, Song 66, Bendtner 88); Stoke 1 (Sanli 81) lost to Manchester Uinted 2 (Hernandez 27, 86) . — Agencies