Liverpool defender Luca Furnell-Gill punched Manchester United star Ethan Wheatley in the face and later elbowed him during Tuesday’s U18s match.
United recorded a 4-3 victory over their bitter rivals in an academy clash that turned sour at Carrington.
Liverpool were 2-1 up at half-time and shortly before Jayce Fitzgerald pulled United level minutes into the second half, Furnell-Gill lashed out at Wheatley, hitting his opponent in the face, which somehow went unpunished by the referee.
The ugly incident occurred with United on the attack as Wheatley attempted to stop Furnell-Gill from closing down one of his team-mates.
The pair collided and Furnell-Gill sucker-punched Wheatley, who appeared shocked as he stayed on his feet and clutched his face, with no free-kick awarded.
United staff on the touchlines were left furious over the punch but Fitzgerald’s goal to make it 2-2 just moments after the incident quietened their protests.
But that was not the end of the feud between Furnell-Gill and Wheatley as tempers flared up again later into the match.
Furnell-Gill threw an elbow into Wheatley’s face when the Liverpool star had his back to the United forward, who angrily pushed his opponent in response.
Furnell-Gill remarkably escaped a red card for both incidents, which left fans baffled on social media, with some calling for him to face a lengthy ban.
United went on to claim victory to make it 14 wins from 14 matches and the Red Devils have a 17-point lead over second-placed Manchester City in the U18 Premier League North, while Liverpool are third in the table.