The England striker converted a penalty to give the hosts the lead in the Europa League last-16 first-leg tie at Anfield.
The occasion marked the first time that the two English giants had ever met in European competition, despite both sides boasting serious continental pedigree in their history.
In a cauldron of noise at Anfield, Reds skipper Jordan Henderson was booked inside a few minutes during a frantic start as both sides showed obvious nerves in the pressure-cooker atmosphere.
It was Jurgen Klopp's side who drew first blood in the tie when Memphis Depay was adjudged to have fouled Nathaniel Clyne in the penalty area after 19 minutes.
Daniel Sturridge stepped up to convert from the spot and send the home supporters wild, and on an evening when tensions and emotions were running high, not even the person running the official Liverpool Twitter account could contain themselves.
Liverpool had chances to double their lead when Philippe Coutinho was denied by an excellent stop from David de Gea, and Sturridge failed to add to his tally of four goals in his last six appearances against United when he also failed to beat the Spanish goalkeeper from close range.
The home side continued to dominate as the first half wore on, with Adam Lallana again testing De Gea, but the score remained at 1-0 as the half-time whistle blew.