First-half goals from Charlie Adam, from the penalty spot, and Andy Carroll handed the Reds a straightforward three points that boosts them to fifth and leaves them just a point behind third-placed Chelsea.
Steven Gerrard missed out for the visitors with an ankle infection, with Jordan Henderson joining Charlie Adam, Lucas Leiva and Stewart Downing in midfield. Luis Suarez was passed as fit to play and partnered Carroll up-front, while Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel were paired at centre-back in the absence of Jamie Carragher.
For the hosts, Somen Tchoyi replaced Shane Long - who will spend six weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury - and supported Peter Odemwingie in attack, with no other changes made to the side that beat Aston Villa last weekend.
Liverpool passed up a big chance to open the scoring with under a minute played. Suarez spotted a huge gap in the West Brom defence and latched on to Jose Enrique’s wonderfully floated diagonal pass only for his control to uncharacteristically let him down, with Ben Foster able to collect the loose ball.
Unfortunately for Foster, Adam was feeling less charitable. After Suarez had been blocked off in the box by Jerome Thomas, the Scottish midfielder coolly slotted home the resulting spot-kick to put the Reds ahead.
Suarez has come under the microscope for his perceived tendency to go to ground easily in and around the edge of the area but there seemed to be clear enough contact here. The West Brom support was less than impressed with the decision, however, as referee Lee Mason had let play continue until his linesman belatedly flagged for the penalty.
The Liverpool faithful felt – and perhaps more justifiably – hard done by themselves minutes later. When Carroll rose for a corner kick from the Liverpool right Jonas Olsson bundled him to the ground to prevent the former Newcastle United man from making any sort of connection.
Carroll was appealing in the box once again at the 20-minute mark. Suarez broke away down the right and teed up a cross that dropped on to the big striker’s head at the back post, only for Steven Reid to make the block with an arm. While there was no doubt where it struck the defender, it would be difficult to claim the handball was intentional.
When Hodgson hurled his jacket to the floor at the half-hour mark it was difficult to tell whether he was more frustrated with his own players or the referee. It really should have been the former, as West Brom were showing desperately little, with Tchoyi and Odemwingie starved of the ball.
Despite their dominance, Liverpool were not carving out too many chances. Suarez did pass up one golden opportunity when Skrtel directed a corner back across the six-yard box only for the Uruguayan to lift a left-footed shot over the crossbar.
The home side finally began to show some signs of life as the half drew to a close. Tchoyi found some space down the right-hand side and curled a low pass across the face of goal that just evaded Odemwingie. Thomas managed to recycle the ball and maintain the Albion pressure only for Chris Brunt to cross wildly into the stands.
If anyone was going to provide a spark for West Brom, it looked like it would be Tchoyi, and his chipped pass allowed Thomas to cut a pass across goal, but Pepe Reina was able to intercept.
Just as they were beginning to have more of a say, disaster struck for West Brom and Liverpool doubled their lead. With Gareth McAuley still forward following a set-piece, Olsson carelessly gave the ball away to Lucas. He released Suarez and Carroll took advantage of the space vacated by the Northern Irish defender, poking the ball past Foster when through on goal.
Humbled Hodgson | Baggies boss could not mastermind a win over his former charges
The second half got off to a lively start. After Carroll’s smart knock-down was scuffed wide by Henderson, Tchoyi wriggled away from Agger at the other end of the pitch before firing just wide.
Suarez’s pace was causing the slightly sluggish looking West Brom defence plenty of problems but the former Ajax striker was struggling to test Foster despite repeatedly working himself into good areas. There seemed to be little doubt, however, that he would hit the back of the net after Carroll’s neat lay-off but Olsson heroically got down to block the low shot.
Hodgson will have been hoping for a response after a lacklustre first half and while West Brom were marginally better, the improvement was nowhere near significant enough to turn the match. After Jose Enrique’s high shot had been palmed over by Foster, Downing fired narrowly wide from the resulting corner with only a speculative Reid effort working Reina.
The Suarez-Carroll tandem has not got off to a blistering start but the way they worked together in this match will have encouraged Kenny Dalglish greatly. Once again they combined, this time Carroll’s powerful shot forcing a good save from Foster after Suarez had knocked the ball into his path.
The only thing the two were lacking was a clinical edge. Suarez’s chipped pass from the left found Carroll behind Olsson on the edge of the box, but he shot wide to the frustration of the unmarked Henderson.
West Brom finished the game with some pressure in and around the Liverpool area but their lack of penetration without the injured Long showed, as Downing’s strike against the post late on was the only chance in the final minutes of an encounter the Reds saw out comfortably.
Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid: Neat finish from Gonzalo Higuain enough for Jose Mourinho's men to go top of La Liga
A ninth minute strike from the Argentine proved enough for the capital giants to collect the points in San Sebastian, and secure a sixth straight league win
A composed first half effort from Gonzalo Higuain proved enough to help Real Madrid emerge from San Sebastian with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad in Saturday's Primera Division clash.
The forward continued his rich vein of form by deftly dinking the ball into the net from inside the area, and although Sociedad rallied in the second period, Madrid's path to the three points was never truly in danger.
Visiting coach Jose Mourinho opted to start Higuain in attack and the striker almost immediately repaid the faith shown by his boss by opening the scoring on nine minutes.
As Sociedad attempted to remain compact, Fabio Coentrao moved forward from left back and slipped a neat pass into the path of the Argentine, who, as Claudio Bravo approached, neatly scooped the ball over his diving body and into the net.
The Basque side's game plan had clearly been to contain and attempt to hit Madrid on the counter, but its efforts had been outdone, and at times in the opening exchanges its suspect offside trap threatened to become their downfall.
Angel Di Maria forced Bravo into a diving save to his left, while Cristiano Ronaldo meandered through the defense but lost control at an inopportune moment, meaning the chance was gone.
Madrid remained dominant, and the opening 45 minutes were almost exclusively played in Sociedad's half, as the hosts struggled to exert any kind of influence on proceedings. But, for all of Madrid's control, another goal was not forthcoming, and despite having just 30 percent of possession going into the interval, Sociedad remained in the game.
The second half offered Philippe Montanier's side a chink of light as Madrid appeared to relax and allow its opponents breathing space for the first time in the contest.
The ball was now equally shared between the sides, and Sociedad sensed an opportunity. Carlos Vela strode forward to fire in a shot that warmed the gloves of Iker Casillas, then substitute Antoine Griezmann forced Spain's No. 1 into a diving save low to his left.
Madrid realized that the result was far from certain, and responded in kind. Alvaro Arbeloa dragged an effort wide of the target, then Higuain chose the wrong option in attempting to find Ronaldo when a shooting opportunity looked clear.
Sergio Ramos then squandered an opening, sliding in to hook the ball wide from the edge of the six-yard box, but a second goal was not needed; Madrid collected the win, and moved back ahead of Barcelona to the top of La Liga, with Levante playing on Sunday.
Van Persie returned to the starting XI for the clash, having missed out for the midweek League Cup victory over Bolton Wanderers, whilst Park Chu-Young was on the bench following his winning goal in that tie.
Daniel Sturridge retained his place in manager Andre Villas-Boas' starting line-up following his extra-time winner against Everton in midweek, with Fernando Torres and Juan Mata completing the hosts' attacking front three.
The home side should have opened the scoring with just four minutes on the clock as Daniel Sturridge looked to play the ball across the goal to Fernando Torres who had a near enough open goalmouth, but the Englishman’s pass was poor and went straight into the arms of Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal then took their turn to squander an opportunity a few moments later, as Theo Walcott got behind Ashley Cole before delivering a great low cross, but Gervinho somehow missed the target from just a matter of yards.
Less than a minute later, Van Persie latched on to another Walcott cross, but the Dutchman failed to connect with the ball properly as his effort cleared the crossbar.
The Gunners were made to rue those misses moments later, as Frank Lampard gave the hosts the lead after 13 minutes, with Mata easily beat Andre Santos before putting in a brilliant delivery for the England midfielder to head past the helpless Szczesny.
Just shy of the half-hour mark, Sturridge should have added a second for Chelsea as Lampard played a remarkable ball over the top of the Arsenal defence for the young striker, but the finish was poor as the former Manchester City man scuffed his shot past the far post.
However, Arsenal got their equaliser in the 35th minute after a lovely move started by an excellent forward pass by Aaron Ramsey to Gervinho, with the Ivorian cheekily squaring the ball to Van Persie as Petr Cech approached, giving the striker an easy finish.
However, Wenger's side were only level for 10 minutes as John Terry looked to get his name in the headlines for the right reasons, bundling the ball past Szczesny after outmuscling centre-back Per Mertesacker at a corner to give Andre Villas-Boas' men the lead going in to half-time.
Van-tastic | RVP's first of three draw's Arsenal level at Stamford Bridge
The teams had not even been out for 40 seconds in the second half when Van Persie registered another shot at goal with Ramsey also going close also by the end of the minute, but it was Santos who drew the visitors level again.
Alex Song did brilliantly to pick out the unmarked Brazilian flying down the left-hand side, before the former Fenerbahce man stroked the ball past Cech with confidence.
Ten minutes into the second half, Arsenal got themselves into the lead for the first time of the day as Walcott marched through the Chelsea defence, before recovering well from a slip to produce a good strike that beat Cech.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Ramsey almost gave Arsenal a two-goal lead as the midfielder received a clever pass from Van Persie as he arrived late in the penalty area, but the Welshman’s shot was taken wide of the post thanks to a deflection.
Arsenal couldn’t keep hold of their lead however as Mata stepped up in the 80th minute, smashing a fantastic effort towards the far side of the goal, giving Szczesny no chance whatsoever.
Four minutes later however, suspect defending reared its head again with Florent Malouda playing a poor pass back to Terry, with the England captain's slip allowing Van Persie a free route to goal as the former Feyenoord man rounded Cech and slotted home to make it 4-3 to the visitors.
A minute into stoppage time, Arsenal secured the three points as Van Persie grabbed his hat-trick following a brilliant counter-attack, with Mikel Arteta picking out the Dutchman who smashed a swerving effort past Cech.
The three points see Arsenal join Tottenham on 16 points in the Premier League whilst Chelsea lose even more ground on the two Manchester clubs at the top of the table.
The Mexican's first-half effort was stoutly defended by the visitors as David Moyes' side were more than equal to the Premier League champions for much of the contest, with the hosts' having two penalty appeals turned down late on.
David Moyes brought in Seamus Coleman and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to reinforce his defence against a Manchester United side that would no doubt be keen to rectify last Sunday's 6-1 horror defeat by Manchester City.
Sir Alex Ferguson made wholesale changes to the team that defeated Aldershot 3-0 in the League Cup on Tuesday, with Rio Ferdinand and Nani dropping to the bench as the Scot brought back Tom Cleverley into the starting XI following injury.
In what had been a troublesome six days, one glimmer of good news was the contract extension of Chicharito, who confirmed his desire to stay with the Premier League champions further with the opening goal.
Ferguson’s faith in the striker paid off in the first half, when a slick move from the left of midfield involving Cleverley and Danny Welbeck opened space for Patrice Evra in the channel, and the French international’s ball across the face of goal gave the Mexican a simple tap-in from only a few yards to give the visitors the lead.
Everton soon regained a foothold in the game however, with Jack Rodwell unlucky to see his left footed strike bend just beyond the far post with David de Gea beaten, after the midfielder dispossessed Cleverly well.
Bouncing back | Welbeck helped United overcome their derby humiliation
The hosts' best chance to level came shortly before the break when Darren Fletcher fouled Marouane Fellaini on the edge of the box. Leighton Baines duly stepped up to take the free-kick, and his sweetly struck shot beat the wall only to smash against the crossbar with De Gea reduced to helpless spectator.
Rodwell still looked the most likely to equalise for the home side in the second half and when Coleman slid the ball inside from the right, the 20-year-old’s dart through the middle allowed space to hammer a shot goalwards, forcing a sprawling save from De Gea.
Manchester United were forced into a change when Cleverley limped off to be replaced by Nani as Ferguson changed his hand.
Everton looked susceptible to the counter attack all afternoon, and were caught out by a long-range cross field pass which was beautifully chested down by Welbeck, with only a great save from former United goalkeeper Tim Howard keeping the scoreline intact.
Ferguson continued to alter the face of his attack when Dimitar Berbatov replaced goalscorer Chicharito and shortly after, Welbeck came off for Antonio Valencia as the visitors looked to double their advantage.
The home side continued to push for an equaliser, and in a frantic spell late on Everton felt they should have been awarded a penalty, as United failed to clear a corner, optimistic shouts for handball were waved away by referee Mark Halsey.
An unusual substitution took place as the game was drawing to its conclusion when assistant referee Andy Halliday slipped and injured himself, with fourth official Phil Dowd called upon to run the line for the closing stages.
There was enough added time for Everton to claim for a further penalty when Magaye Gueye slipped under pressure for Everton, once again Halsey said no, as Manchester United were able to hold on to their slim advantage and gain a much-needed confidence boost in the Premier League.
Nocerino Hat Trick Puts Milan in Range of First Place
Antonio Nocerino recorded his first career hat trick as AC Milan dominated their way to a 4-1 win over Parma to put them within two points of first place.
After a slow start to the season, the 2010-11 champions have been in incredible form of late. In the three Serie A matches since the international break, Milan have picked up nine points and have outscored their opponents 11-4. Add in the 2-0 win over BATE Borisov in the Champions League, and AC Milan have won four straight in incredible fashion.
Nocerino came into the match with five career goals in 125 appearances. With the hat trick, the second in two games by a Milan midfielder, he is now the club's leading scorer for the season with four.
Unlike the Lecce match on Sunday, Milan were the better team right from the start, and they finally found the breakthrough on the half hour when Nocerino tapped in the opener. He kept the heat up with a screamer from outside the penalty box less than two minutes later.
As is typical of Milan once they get a comfortable lead, the Rossoneri controlled the game, taking care of the ball and preventing Parma from getting any strong opportunities.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic found the net for his second Serie A goal this season with just more than 25 minutes to play. Sebastian Giovinco got one back for the visitors, but it wouldn't be enough. Nocerino put the finishing touches on a solid day's work in stoppage time to make it 4-1.
AC Milan are flying high and looking like, if not better than, the champions of last season. The big change right now, besides the fact that Milan now have some healthy strikers, is the midfield.
Nocerino and fellow newcomer Alberto Aquilani have been absolutely fantastic now that they have become accustomed to the club. Nocerino has been in particularly good form, but Aquilani has shown his skill, and with the age situation in the midfield seemingly improving, the door is open for Milan to storm their way through the league and potentially conquer Europe.
Next up is a tough test with Roma. The Giallorossi have not been in the best of form lately, having lost two of their last three, including Wednesday against Genoa. It is a perfect opportunity for Milan to grab three points.
David Silva could now be at Barcelona or Real Madrid
David Silva has confirmed he rejected the opportunity to join both Barcelona and Real Madrid before he signed for Manchester City.
Silva, 25, has been in sensational form of late and has played a key role in City's march to the top of the Premier League, but admitted it could have been a very different personal story had he opted to sign for one of La Liga's big two.
"Madrid and Barcelona are great teams, but I'm happy here and I would like to stay here for many years," he told Cadena SER.
"My family are the same as me, we're happy. The people treat me really well and I'm very relaxed. I live in a very peaceful area, a small town. The important thing is the team. We are playing well and we are leaders.
"At the end of the season we will be in the fight and maybe we'll win the title. It's like any other club. They are putting together a great team and we hope to be one of the biggest sides in Europe. They [City] were the team who pushed hardest for me. I didn't have to think about it because they were the only team to push so hard to sign me and I'm happy."
Silva also conceded that he had been surprised with the speed of his adaptation to English football, while revealing the contrasting cultures of the respective leagues.
"I thought it was going to be harder but they have made it easy for me and I'm happy," he continued. "The atmosphere has surprised me, the competition and the relaxed atmosphere from day to day is fundamental. The public don't come in to the training sessions and at the games they are very respectful."
And despite Silva's overpowering influence in City's clinical 6-1 victory over Manchester United, he backed their goalkeeper David de Gea, formerly of Atletico Madrid, to be a success at Old Trafford.
"I am going to enjoy it a little but in the knowledge that we have a game on Wednesday," he said. "On the pitch it's each man for himself, but I wish [De Gea] all the best because he is a great goalkeeper and I am sure he will do really well [at United]."
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that winning the La Liga title is the club's top priority this season.
Ronaldo won three Premier League titles with Manchester United, but has only picked up the Copa del Rey trophy since his £80 million move in 2009. Real currently lie in second place in the table, one point behind shock leaders Levante, but are in fine form having just crushed Malaga 4-0.
And with many suggesting that the arrival of manager Jose Mourinho at Bernabeu last year was mainly to help the club in the Champions League, Ronaldo has insisted that the focus is on domestic glory first.
"I want to win La Liga. I think this is the priority for the club,'' he said at the global premiere of Castrol EDGE programme 'Ronaldo Tested to the Limit'. ''Of course if we win La Liga and we have the opportunity to win the Champions League, why not?
"Real Madrid have to think big because it is one of the best teams in the world. We're going to work hard this season and try to win that important competition."
Madrid last won the league in 2007-08 under Bernd Schuster, having also picked it up the season before while Fabio Capello was in charge.
Snapshot: Iker Casillas Late For Training Due To Traffic Jam, Takes Photo As Proof, Still Fined By Jose Mourinho.
Picture the scene: You’re Iker Casillas, your beard is marvellous. Being the saint you are, you leave the house in good time to make it to training on time when a wild traffic jam appears on the motorway…
Being the diligent, honest soul you are, you take a photograph as proof of your vehicular malaise and send it to your manager as proof of your predicament, along with an apology for your imminent tardy arrival .
The Argentina international believes it is only a matter of time before his side can overcome the Catalan giants and is confident it will happen sooner than later.
The Santiago Bernabeu outfit were edged out by their Catalan arch-rivals in the two-legged Spanish Supercopa after a pair of closely-contested games.
That came after Madrid had fallen short of Barca in La Liga and in the Champions League in 2010-11, with their only success in the campaign coming in the Copa del Rey.
Still, Higuain believes his side are on the right track in their bid to unseat the Camp Nou club, telling Ole: "Every year we get closer to Barca, that was seen in the Copa del Rey, in the Supercopa and in the other four matches.
"We have come across a spectacular Barca, but we have a great team and there is no doubt we can stand up to them and win.
"We are getting closer to Barca, and I do not doubt that we can overcome them at some point this season."
The 23-year-old, who has scored hat-tricks in each of the club's last two games, spoke of his joy at having returned to the team's plans after a lengthy spell on the sidelines last season.
"The surgery was a very hard blow, it came when I was in a good spell with the club," Higuain added. "It was a tough injury which practically ruled me out for the season.
"Only those who were by my side know what I suffered to get to play again. But those difficult months are now over. Indirectly, this is a reward, and it is satisfactory."
Barcelona's Lionel Messi: I do not try to outshine Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo
Barcelona star Lionel Messi has guaranteed he is not obsessed with beating Real Madrid'sCristiano Ronaldo. The rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo has provided an extra spice to the fierce rivalry between the two clubs ever since the Portugal international moved to the Santiago Bernabeu from Manchester United in 2009.
Messi, however, does not believe he is in a personal competition with Ronaldo, and stressed his sole focus is on winning silverware with the club.
"I have no duel with Cristiano Ronaldo," the Argentina international said at a press conference. "The only thing I want to do is help my team do things well.
"I have never watched Cristiano to compare myself with him or to do things better than him."
The diminutive attacker went on to affirm he is not worried about breaking the club's all-time goalscoring record, which is owned by Cesar Rodriguez, at 235 goals.
"I want to win titles, because this is what makes us become part of history," he added. "The more goals I score, the better, not to break the record, but to help the team."
Questioned about Wednesday's Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen, Messi noted the Czech side must not be taken lightly, despite Barcelona being heavily favoured for the game.
"In the Champions League, there are no easy teams, regardless of where they come from," he noted. "They had a good match against AC Milan [despite a 2-0 loss], creating chances.
"We will go out playing as usual, respecting our opponent."
Sergio Aguero and David Silva were also on the scoresheet for City, while Edin Dzeko added a brace, with Jonny Evans getting sent off for the Old Trafford side and Darren Fletcher gaining a late consolation, as they were comprehensively defeated by their local rivals and title challengers.
Both sides showed their intent from the off, starting with attacking line-ups, which included Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck leading the line for the home side, while their so-called noisy neighbours went for the controversial Balotelli and Aguero as the goal threat going into the derby.
The visitors started off the brightest, with Argentine hitman Aguero putting his former Atletico Madrid team-mate David de Gea under pressure within the first minute, getting a touch on the keeper’s clearance, which led to a chance that Aguero failed to capitalise on.
The game, played in a cauldron of noise inside Old Trafford, then swung back and forth, with the champions gaining the advantage, especially in the midfield area, as they looked to get forward, with Ashley Young being the focal point as the winger raced down the left wing, taking on Micah Richards early on.
Just before the quarter of an hour mark Manchester City had a superb chance as Silva raced into the home box and with three United defenders surrounding the Spaniard, he managed to evade them, with the ball seemingly sticking to his foot before Jonny Evans got back to cover the midfielder.
Despite having the lion’s share of the possession, the home side could not find a way to get a shot at Joe Hart’s goal and were made to pay when James Milner got the ball on the left hand side of the area and cut it back to Balotelli, who slotted the ball home expertly to put the visitors into the lead.
The Italian then found himself on the wrong side of referee Mark Clattenburg’s wreath, for putting his blue Manchester City top over his head to reveal a ‘Why always me?’ message on his t-shirt underneath.
They could have gone two ahead, as Aguero got the ball on the right touchline and floated the ball across, but unfortunately for Mancini’s side it could not be put into the net and was eventually cleared from danger by the Manchester United defence.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side looked to get back into the game, with their main dangerman being Young, who had an effort from just outside the box that failed to trouble Hart in the City goal as the ball went wide of his left hand post and out for a goal kick.
Hart was finally made to make his first save of the match with over half an hour gone in the game, as he punched out a corner from the left, straight into the path of Anderson, but the
Brazilian midfielder could only put his strike back into the palms of the England goalkeeper.
With five minutes left in the half and with their fans getting anxious, the home side were forced to settle for strikes from outside the area as the Manchester City defence stood strong, meaning that Anderson was forced to try his luck from the edge of the box after a move had broken down, but once again it failed to trouble Hart.
Mancini’s side continued to stay solid at the back while looking to attack on the break and hold on to their precious lead as they went into the half-time break a goal ahead of their city rivals.
Within the first minute of the second half things went from bad to worse for the home side as Aguero put a ball through towards goal, with Balotelli getting on the wrong side of Evans, with the Northern Irishman pulling the forward’s shirt on the edge of the box, leaving referee Clattenburg with no choice but to send the centre-back off.
Balotelli then took the resulting free kick, but the Italian could not make the champions pay for their error, as his strike cannoned off the wall, then Richards' attempt from the rebound was cleared from danger.
It could have got even worse for Sir Alex’s side as Richards raced into the box and went down under a challenge from Anderson, but Clattenburg waved away the appeals of the visiting side, saying that the contact between the two was incidental.
The home side’s only chance during the first few minutes of the half came as a result of a long ball played to Welbeck, but the young striker could not make anything of the opportunity as no player in red was anywhere near the England striker and ultimately City got the ball clear.
The ball then raced to the other end, where Richards had another opportunity after the full-back was put in on goal by Balotelli, but he could not find a way beyond the home defence to put De Gea under any real pressure.
Being both a goal down and a man down, the home side re-jigged their side with Rooney moving into midfield and Fletcher moving into the right-back position, but even though they were being pushed back by their neighbours they attempted to get forward, but still could not beat Hart in the visiting goal.
Then just before the hour mark the blue half of Manchester were given further joy to celebrate as Silva raced into the box before finding the onrushing Milner on the right wing, who then crossed to the unmarked Balotelli, and he tapped in at the back post to double the visitors' lead.
They could have had a third minutes later as Richards played the ball to Silva, who beat his man before whipping in a cross that Chris Smalling was forced to clear before Balotelli could tap home for his hat-trick.
That put Sir Alex into action as he decided to shake things up by bringing on both Phil Jones and Javier Hernandez for the ineffective pair of Anderson and Nani as the home side looked to find a way back into the Manchester derby.
But instead of getting back into the game they went further behind as Richards received the ball on the right wing, crossing to the back post for Aguero to nod home and race towards the sea of blue fans in the corner to celebrate City’s third of the day.
City continued to put their local rivals under pressure, as Edin Dzeko, who had replaced Balotelli minutes earlier, had a chance that went just wide of De Gea’s goal.
They kept going forward looking for a fourth goal, with Silva going close, then De Gea having to get down well in order to save from Dzeko as the Bosnian striker went one-on-one with the keeper after being put through on goal.
With 10 minutes left in the game the home side finally found a goal to give their fans something to cheer about, as Fletcher played a one-two with Hernandez and the Scotland captain then proceeded to curl the ball round Hart and into the top of the Manchester City goal to reduce the deficit.
Mancini’s side were content to hang on for the remainder of the game, slowing down the play at any opportunity, which brought roars of anger from the home support, as they were desperate to see their side close the gap on their city rivals.
With two minutes left in the game the visitors finally got their fourth of the game as a corner from the left found Joleon Lescott at the back post and he put it into Dzeko, who hit the ball with his knee and into the net.
The humiliation was complete a minute later as Dzeko turned from goalscorer to provider as he put through Silva, who slotted the ball through De Gea's legs to give the visitors their fifth goal of a famous derby victory.
Then, deep into injury time, it became even worse as Silva found Dzeko, who slotted the ball past De Gea to complete a terrible day for Sir Alex's side as they were humbled by their noisy neighbours.
The former Netherlands attacker has played down the Portuguese coach's remarks, while conceding that Madrid are a strong side who have been playing well.
Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has lambasted Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, saying that the Portuguese tactician should not be taken seriously.
Mourinho claimed in the press conference which followed Madrid's 4-0 Champions League victory over Olympique Lyonnais that the other European giants had been handed a much easier task in the competition than his side.
The former Inter boss went as far as to claim he had to go online to check where some of the teams in the other groups hailed from.
Questioned about Mourinho's remarks, Cruyff told reporters: "In every sport, you have to respect our team-mates, your opponents and rivals.
"Honestly, no-one cares about what Mourinho says."
The 64-year-old then admitted that Real Madrid have registered significant improvements lately, but stressed that Barca have been too hot to handle.
"No-one can deny that Madrid have been playing very well in the last years," Cruyff said. "In 2009-10, they beat their record for the highest number of points in the league.
"When that happens, who can say they are playing poorly? Barca play very well and win titles, but Madrid are playing very well and they have a great team."