REDS skipper Steven Gerrard saluted the mental strength of fellow Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso.
The Spaniard endured a summer of speculation about his future but he has now featured in all but 45 minutes of Liverpool's six matches this season and was excellent against United.
"I would like to say a word for Xabi," declared Gerrard. "This has been a very difficult time for him right up to the transfer window shutting.
"He didn't know whether he was coming or going, but he got man of the match against United and that says a lot about him."
It was Alonso's ball into the penalty area which led to Liverpool's equaliser and Gerrard added: "It was a great win but the most pleasing thing was the performance.
"They got an early goal and that was a blow, but the reaction from our side, the character shown and workrate, produced a lot of positives. We got even stronger.
"When you get a win against the best side in the league you know it will put you in good stead for the future. We realise it is only early days and of course it does not mean we will go on and win the league.
"Now the belief will be there when we go away to the other top sides like United and Chelsea because they know we are capable of beating them.
"We are only a few games in, but we believe we can be in the hunt come March and April. We want it really badly and the fans can see that.
"You can understand when the manager says this was a game worth more than just three points. If you beat teams like United, it is bound to help you for future games.
"I'm sure the United players will realise that we want this title really badly. I know it's only a few games in, but we want to be there come March and April.And I must make a special mention of the supporters, they were unbelievable."
United were the only title rival Liverpool had not defeated in the league during four previous seasons under Benitez.
And Gerrard added: "It's certainly up there with our best results in the Premier League in recent years. We've had a lot of big performances at Anfield, notably in Europe. But we've had a bit of criticism for our performances in the past when the other so-called top three have come here.
"This is a big statement for the future but it's important that we keep our feet on the ground. We've just got to take the positives and use them to our advantage for the games coming up.
"The pleasing thing for me was, while watching three-quarters of the game from the bench, I could see how together we were.
"It would have been easy for us to sulk over the first goal and become nervous in our play, but we reacted perfectly.
"The character and work-rate from the players was fantastic. The longer the game went on, we became even stronger."
Gerrard added: "It was hard to sit and watch from the bench, but I think the manager did the sensible thing with me. I'd only had one full training session. My heart was saying I was desperate to start, but there are another 40-50 games hopefully this season.
"The game came a little bit soon for me, but I got part of it. The atmosphere in the training room was fantastic after the game.
"I wasn't ready to start. I'd been training on my own for the last 10 days. The most I could have played was 20-25 minutes."