He headed Manchester United’s second in the 79th minute but boss Alex Ferguson rapped: “Cristiano could have had a hat-trick and it was disappointing we didn’t finish them off earlier. He had two one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper, but when he did get the second goal, it killed the game.”
Ronaldo claimed his 34th goal this season – 25 have come in the league.
It was his first strike against Liverpool, who had midfielder Javier Mascherano sent off just before half-time.
Rocket Ronnie could finish the campaign with a goal against every team in the Premier League except Manchester City – and he was banned for one of the meetings against them this term.
The forward failed to score against Chelsea in September and Middlesbrough last October but United play both sides for a second time in the title run-in.
Wes Brown was on target for only his third goal in 293 games while Ronaldo’s fellow Portuguese star Nani completed the romp with nine minutes left.
It leaves United odds-on to retain the Premier League crown they lifted last May and close to within one of Liverpool’s record haul of 18 top-flight triumphs.
Fergie added: “Three-nil against Liverpool, our biggest rivals, is good for the goal difference and we have done our job. We were first on the menu and this is a big three points but we won’t get carried away although it is a boost for morale and confidence.
“It was a brave header from Brown for the first one. He doesn’t get many but that was excellent.
“Wayne Rooney could also have had a hat-trick.
“Once we had the second goal that was it. I feel 3-0 was not a flattering score, we could have got more.”