MANCHESTER, January 9- Kenny Dalglish made a losing start to his second spell in charge of Liverpool after Ryan Giggs's penalty earned Manchester United a 1-0 FA Cup third round victory at Old Trafford here Sunday.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was also sent off as life after Roy Hodgson, sacked as manager on Saturday, started the same way it finished — with defeat.
There were some positives for Dalglish to take from his first game in charge of the club in nearly 20 years, but the Scot knows he has his work cut out if he is to revive Liverpool’s fortunes.
Although the early penalty that decided the tie was harsh, United were denied a blatant spot kick later in the game while Gerrard can have few complaints about his 32nd minute red card after a late challenge on fellow England midfielder Michael Carrick.
This was the first competitive meeting between Dalglish and compatriot Sir Alex Ferguson since Dalglish masterminded a 1-1 draw for Newcastle at Old Trafford in April 1998, a result which contributed towards United missing out to Arsenal in the race for the title.
Nine thousand Liverpool supporters were at Old Trafford to witness the new Dalglish era, but they were left shell-shocked after World Cup final referee Howard Webb awarded a controversial penalty with barely 30 seconds gone.
United, who welcomed captain Rio Ferdinand back to the side, capitalised from their very first attack when Dimitar Berbatov was adjudged to have been clipped, harshly, by Daniel Agger inside the Liverpool area.
Giggs stepped up to beat Pepe Reina, the 37-year-old’s second goal of the season and 11th FA Cup goal for United.
Dalglish made five changes to the side that surrendered so tamely against Blackburn in Hodgson’s last match in charge.
And despite the shock of falling behind so early, Liverpool showed more purpose than they had on their travels for a long time.
Maxi Rodriguez stung the finger tips of Tomasz Kuszczak in the 19th minute before Gerrard forced a 30th minute save from United’s Polish keeper.
But that was to be Gerrard’s only contribution. Two minutes later he was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Carrick, the seventh dismissal in the last nine matches between the clubs.
Dalglish looked disgusted at the decison, but Gerrard could have few excuses for his first red card since March 2006 which rules him out of the forthcoming league games with Blackpool, Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
United powered forward in an attempt to make the extra man advantage count and kill off the tie.
Javier Hernandez went close to doubling the lead with a header, but it required a stunning save by Kuszczak to deny the spirited visitors a 65th minute equaliser when a perfectly executed 25-yard free kick by Fabio Aurelio appeared to be heading for the top corner.
United increased the tempo in the closing stages, Reina flicking Patrice Evra’s effort over the bar after the hosts had been denied a sure-fire penalty when Giggs was tripped by Jonjo Shelvey in the 69th minute.