United were beaten in the cruellest of fashions in blustery conditions at Carrington despite Sam Byrne getting off the mark with his first Academy League goal for the club.
Not for the first time, the Reds conceded early on as, from the first attack of the game, Jack Dunn ran through unchecked to slip his finish into an inviting target to Liam Jacob's right. The shock of falling behind inside the opening minute had barely subsided when Jacob was forced to save from Marc Pelosi to prevent his side going further behind.
United showed their mettle and levelled the scores on 12 minutes following a simply wonderful move. Gyliano van Velzen, Adnan Januzaj and Mats Daehli were all involved but Charni Ekangamene's clever wing-play allowed the full-back to claim the assist with the cross for Irish striker Byrne to touch home.
The wind caused problems for both defences and James Weir had to atone for an error by hacking away an Adam Morgan shot while Jacob saved superbly from the impressive Pelosi. Morgan squeezed a shot wide and then dived to head off target as the Merseysiders predictably had the better of the first half with the conditions working in their favour.
The second half saw more pressure from United, with the gale at their backs, with Daehli unlucky to fire wide after turning sharply on a chipped pass by Enkangamene. Byrne teed up the Norwegian midfielder to lash over the top and Tyrell Belford made a spectacular double save to thwart Daehli and Byrne.
Mike Marsh's team had chances too but Morgan was guilty of a glaring miss from a breakaway raid and Jacob made stupendous saves to deny Kristoffer Peterson and Dunn to show off his shot-stopping ability.
The closest United came to going ahead was when Jack Rudge's free-kick was almost spilled into his own net by Belford but the keeper recovered to fish it away from the line as it threatened to drop in.
After Daehli curled an effort inches off target, the late twist came at the other end while Rudge was down injured with