Fernando Torres and David Ngog struck as Liverpool downed bitter rivals Manchester United 2-0 at Anfield to give their season a much-needed shot in the arm.
Torres broke the deadlock on 65 minutes before Ngog added a gloss to the scoreline deep into injury time with both teams down to 10 men as Liverpool's run of four straight defeats ended.
Nemanja Vidic was dismissed for a third straight game against the Merseyside club in the final minute while Javier Mascherano also received his marching orders in time added on.
Antonio Valencia had earlier hit the bar as United rallied but Liverpool held on to record a crucial victory that sees them move into fifth place, allowing manager Rafa Benitez to finally celebrate something on his 200th Premier League match in charge.
United stay in second, having lost top spot to Chelsea on Saturday.
Liverpool may have been missing inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard, who was forced to watch on from the stands through injury, but Benitez was boosted by the return of Torres. The Spaniard did not disappoint.
Having failed to have a sniff of goal during the opening 65 minutes, Torres proved his worth to his club when he was played through on goal by a fantastic Yossi Benayoun pass. He held off the challenge of Rio Ferdinand before lashing into the roof of the net, leaving Edwin van der Sar no chance.
As United pressed forward for a late equaliser, they were exposed at the back and Ngog took full advantage in the sixth minute of time added on, the substitute keeping his cool when played clean through on goal to fire home and seal victory.