In the line-up for the first time since Boxing Day as Jose Mourinho made three changes with Paul Pogba ruled out through injury, Rashford scored a first-half brace to boost United’s hopes of finishing second to runaway leaders Manchester City.
The England international ended a run of 10 Premier League matches without a goal to send United five points clear of third-placed Liverpool in the 200th competitive meeting between the sides, though Tottenham could close to within four by beating Bournemouth on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp made five alterations to the side that secured progression to the Champions League quarter-finals against Porto on Tuesday, with Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold reinforcing the defence, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mohamed Salah returned further up the pitch.
But that backline was bullied by Romelu Lukaku, who proved a magnet for the long balls from which he helped create Rashford’s goals – the first of which came after a delightful change of direction in the 14th minute.
An own goal from Eric Bailly on his first start since November having been sidelined with a knee injury gave Liverpool hope during an improved second-half display, but the Red Devils held on for a potentially crucial victory.
Klopp on Friday said the clash was not “an attacking team against a defending team” but that was exactly how the opening stages played out, with United sitting back and Liverpool controlling possession.
It was the hosts who took the lead, though. David de Gea’s goal-kick was flicked on to Rashford by Lukaku, and he brilliantly chopped inside of Alexander-Arnold and fired inside the far post.
Get Full video Highlights on your device HERE