United's Under-18s battled hard at Liverpool but went down to a fourth consecutive Academy defeat with a 2-1 reverse.
A nightmare start did not help the Reds' cause but an improved second-half display saw Jack Barmby pull one back with a splendid strike. Adam Morgan's near-post header made the early breakthrough in the third minute and, despite playing some neat football, United never really threatened Tyrell Belford before falling further behind to a soft header from Matty Regan when Liam Jacob failed to deal with a high cross from the right.
Only the woodwork denied Jack Dunn a third for Mike Marsh's hosts but the second half produced more attractive work from the Reds and Barmby picked up a loose pass to smash home a superb strike with his left foot with an hour gone. It was Barmby's fifth of the campaign and takes him to the top of the scorers' chart.
Jacob kept out a couple of decent attempts from Morgan as United struggled to create too many chances, although substitute Kenji Gorre was squeezed out in the closing stages when being played through by Barmby's intelligent pass.
United: Jacob, Hendrie (Love 65), Blackett, McCullough, Ekangamene, Pearson, Daehli, Rothwell (Rudge 57), Barmby, Januzaj (Gorre 86), van Velzen. Unused subs: McNair, Coll.