Michael Beale takes charge of Liverpool U21s at Anfield for the first time on Friday night with a tie against Manchester United - a rivalry he has labelled the biggest in English football.

Reds supporters can watch the home youth encounter against the Red Devils live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, with build-up beginning at 6.30pm from the stadium ahead of kick-off at 7pm.

Beale's tenure started perfectly on Tuesday night when defender Ryan McLaughlin surged forward and fired a dramatic late winner to secure a 1-0 victory over Sunderland.

"We wanted to get off to a really good start in our first game and we managed to do that with the win at Sunderland," the boss reflected to Liverpoolfc.com.

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"To score the late goal and to see the energy of the players so late on was really pleasing. I thought the lads showed a lot of character in the second half.

"Kristoffer Peterson was outstanding in the second half and Ryan McLaughlin played in three different positions before he got the winner. He was fantastic."

Beale was also quick to welcome the return to action of Samed Yesil, who came on as a substitute for his first appearance since December 2013 after recovering from a knee injury.

He said: "It was also great to see Samed Yesil come back after his injury. He looked sharp and did very well and hopefully he can push on now and get back to full fitness."

With thoughts now quickly switching to the visit of fierce rivals United, Beale explained that there are naturally several reasons why the youngsters are keen to make an impression.

"The boys are definitely up for this game against United, that's for sure, and we are looking forward to it. It's our first home game of the season," he continued.

"We speak about that a lot to the players, about the moments we live for, to play in big stadiums against big opponents, and tell them we can't give up the chance to show our level in these games.

"Every game you take a Liverpool team into is fantastic but when it's against Manchester United at Anfield, that's the thing I've been working up to as a coach.

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"We were lucky last season as we played a lot of games at Anfield and I was on the bench as assistant to Alex Inglethorpe - which was fantastic.

"We have just got to give it everything we have. It's a fantastic opportunity to play at Anfield; there's no bigger game in English football than Liverpool-Manchester United."

There were contrasting results against United in 2013-14. Inspired by Fabio Borini and Jordon Ibe, the Reds won 4-2 away, but were later beaten after a tightly-contested game in the play-offs.

Beale added: "They were two very different games. In the first game we had the likes of Borini, Ibe and Martin Kelly, and they had Adnan Januzaj, so you can see how it can change when it comes to U21s football.

"In the semi-final we were much younger and we had the likes of Joao Carlos Teixeira and Jack Dunn, who won't be involved on Friday, while since that game United have a new first-team manager.

"They play similarly to the first team. In their first game they started with a 3-5-2 system and ended up with a flat back four, so like us they can be flexible."