Scorers: Manchester Utd: Hernandez (46)
Referee: M Clattenburg
Moyes saw some calm brought to a turbulent few days when Javier Hernandez’s solitary strike at the start of the second half proved enough to defeat Liverpool 1-0 in last night’s Capital One Cup third-round tie at Old Trafford.
Hernandez wriggled away from Jose Enrique to touch home Wayne Rooney’s corner and the victory earned United a last-16 home encounter with Barclays Premier League strugglers Norwich after a kind draw – one of the few things to have gone well for Moyes since he succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson in the summer.
Moyes’ sceptics had a field day following Sunday’s 4-1 hammering at Manchester City, which led to claims the Scot is incapable of securing wins in the biggest matches. For the moment, they have been silenced, as Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s return from a ten-match suspension ended in disappointment. And, after being told he had now made the best start of any new United manager since Matt Busby in 1946, Moyes claimed he will eventually do it for good.
He said: “Everybody seems to be picking a stat out – I have not won here or I have not done that. That is one of the good stats. I have not had that many good ones. But that is one of the better ones.
“I will sort it. I will fix it. I will turn it round. I have no doubt about that.”
Moyes has every reason to look at the world with a good deal more optimism than he did at the weekend.
After making eight changes and naming Rooney captain, the United boss saw his team perform with more attacking conviction than they have done in most of their more important matches this season.
“It certainly was,” said Moyes, when asked whether his reaction at the final whistle was one of relief. “It was a big game for us. We had lost at Anfield a few weeks ago and at the Etihad on Sunday and we wanted to put that right.
“Liverpool have started the season well, so to get a result was good. It certainly wasn’t a risk playing the team I did. The players are all internationals and first-team players. There are no first team and reserves in this squad. Some of the performances were excellent tonight and they had to be.”
Phil Jones, Nani and Shinji Kagawa all caught the eye, as did goalscorer Hernandez, who was netting for the first time this season.
“Sometimes in the box it is about movement, and losing your defender,” Moyes said. “Javier did that. “And a lot of credit has to go with the way he finished it as well, the way he adjusted his body. It was a really good goal.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was satisfied with Suarez’s performance on his return from his ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic last season but knows there is a lot more to come from the striker.
“I thought Luis was excellent,” he said. “Considering he had been out for such a long time he ran himself into the ground, he was always a threat, he put defenders on the back foot with a couple of twists and as he goes on he will get a bit sharper.
“Overall he can be really pleased and I was really happy for him because his contribution was brilliant. He has worked very hard. He obviously tired a bit towards the end but the only way he is going to get that [fitness] is playing in games.
“But even in the last moments of the game he can still create, distract defenders and open up the space.”
Old Trafford was probably not the ideal place for Suarez to make his comeback after five months on the sidelines considering the history he has with the club following his eight-match ban after being found guilty in December 2011 of racially abusing their defender Patrice Evra.
But Rodgers said there was never any doubt the Uruguay international would play.
“He is very thick-skinned and he has a wonderful talent. There are no qualms he will go and play anywhere. I had spoken to him and he was fine. ”
Rodgers also saw it as an opportunity for the 26-year-old to repay the fans after he tried to manufacture a summer transfer by claiming the club reneged on a deal to allow him to leave for a team in the Champions League.
Rodgers said: “The support they have given him is unheralded. They were brilliant to him. Now he has got to get his head down and give them that great talent he has and, hopefully, it will end up in goals.”
Manchester United: De Gea, R Da Silva, Smalling, Evans, Buttner, Jones, Giggs, Nani (Welbeck 90), Rooney, Kagawa (Januzaj 73), Hernandez (Carrick 74). Subs not used: Anderson, Fabio Da Silva, Zaha, Amos.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Henderson, Gerrard, Moses (Sterling 82), Lucas (Kelly 67), Enrique, Sturridge, Suarez Subs not used: Jones, Alberto, Aspas, Ibe, Wisdom.