Manchester United and Liverpool battled out a 1-1 draw at Under-18 level at the Aon Training Complex on Saturday with both goals coming in the opening quarter of an hour.
Although Ashley Fletcher was back after a knee operation, Matthew Willock lost his ever-present tag in midfield and there were starts for Axel Tuanzebe, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marcus Rashford.
Fletcher initially looked understandably rusty when slicing a Demetri Mitchell pass wide but he took only eight minutes to get back on the goal trail, supplying an unerring finish past Ryan Crump after Mitchell cut the ball across from the left.
The lead lasted only five minutes as trickery by Sergi Canos allowed Daniel Trickett-Smith to ram in the equaliser in similar fashion, against the run of play. United wasted a glorious chance when Joe Riley hit a post and Rashford looped a right-footed shot just too high.
Fletcher was unlucky to see goal ruled out for offside when a Borthwick-Jackson cross rebounded to him, but the visitors ended the first half on top with Seyi Ojo forcing a save out of Joel Castro Pereira before flashing the ball dangerously across the six-yard box.
There was little action of note in the second period until Mitchell dashed down the wing again and, although his cross bounced past Crump, Fletcher was unable to convert on the stretch with the wind playing its part. Riley then saw an attempt deflect off target as Paul McGuinness' side started to emerge as a threat again.
Canos executed another dazzling run but fired high over the bar and it proved his final contribution as he was replaced by the highly-rated Harry Wilson. McGuinness also made a substitution with Fletcher withdrawn on his comeback and Jordan Thompson's introduction prompting a tactical reshuffle.
Another substitute, Connor Randall, should have scored after Pereira missed a corner from the left, shortly before the Reds brought on rookie defender Tosin Kehinde. Mitchell was harshly booked for simulation in the closing stages with a draw a fair result in the end.
United: J.Pereira; Tuanzebe (Williams 83), McConnell, Ioannou, Borthwick-Jackson; Riley, Goss, Rashford (Kehinde 78),