Liverpool and Manchester United could only manage a dour goalless draw after a tactical battle and stubborn defending kept both teams at bay.
Jose Mourinho, despite warming his team up in their hotel car park, would have been hoping before the game to close the gap on the top four.
United Captain Wayne Rooney only had a place on the bench as Mourinho brought in Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young into the starting line up, whilst Paul Pogba was started behind the striker for the first time since his return to Manchester.
Sturridge was brought into the team for the hosts as Jurgen Klopp tried to steal three points in the biggest game in club football.
The first half left a lot to be desired as chances were few and far between. It was evident United weren’t going to allow Liverpool to press from the off as they were disciplined in defence.
The atmosphere was tense and young Marcus put the ‘rash’ in Rashford with a strong crunching challenge on James Milner just two minutes in.
The first attempt came seven minutes in as Zlatan Ibrahimovic tried an outrageous effort from a 35-yard free-kick but the ball ballooned into the stands.
It wasn’t long until Pogba tried a replica of Ibrahimovic’s shot and similarly found the same place in the stands.
United had the ball in Liverpool’s half far more in the opening stages and the host’s first effort came after 20 minutes. Emre Can, just like Ibrahimovic, tried a 25-yard strike but failed to trouble David De Gea.
The event started to seem like it got the better of Liverpool and the nerves were on show in Milner as Rashford roasted him down the right flank and delivered a great low cross into the box but Loris Karius got down to palm the ball away before Ibrahimovic could get to it.
Liverpool’s best opportunity came 15 minutes from time when Henderson was found out wide after a good spell of possession, the Liverpool captain crossed to the back post for Roberto Firmino to head into De Gea’s hands.
The first half was very much a midfield battle but Mourinho would have been the happier man after seeing out a comfortable half.
The best opening of the game came after the restart when £89m Pogba skipped down the right before delivering a wonderful cross to Ibrahimovic at the far post, but the swede could only head back across goal with nobody there waiting.
Can had a brilliant chance just before Adam Lallana replaced Daniel Sturridge on the hour mark after a bulldozing run into the United box but De Gea got down quickly to make a brilliant save from Can’s low effort.
The momentum seemed to change after the injection of Lallana’s pace and De Gea was forced into action again moments later. Philippe Countino found some space on the edge of the box and curled a trademark effort towards the top corner but the Spaniard in goal was equal to it with another great stop.
Rooney was introduced with 15 minutes left as a right winger but Milner had him playing as a wing-back most of the time.
Firmino almost had the opportunity to score the winner late on after a delicious flick by Coutino but Antonio Valencia made up ground to make a perfect tackle and spare United’s blushes.
But it ended all square as fans across the world watched in anticipation as the biggest game in club football ended in a dour goalless draw.