Luis Suarez’s superb free-kick helped Liverpool bounce back from consecutive away defeats with a comfortable victory over Hull City at Anfield.
The Merseyside outfit had slipped to fifth in the table with losses at title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea, but returned to winning ways by avenging their 3-1 loss to Steve Bruce’s men in the reverse fixture last month.
Liverpool created the better openings of the first half and moved ahead on 36 minutes when Philippe Coutinho’s corner was met by the head of stand-in captain Daniel Agger.
Suarez doubled the lead on 50 minutes to notch his 20th Premier League goal of the season with an unstoppable bending free-kick, joining Fernando Torres as only the second Liverpool player to score in eight consecutive Premier League home games.
Brendan Rodgers’ side pushed for a third as the game neared its conclusion, but the scoreline remained at 2-0 as the hosts climbed to fourth, while Hull stay 10th.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard returned to the bench after a four match lay-off with a hamstring problem, while Iago Aspas and Aly Cissokho replaced injured duo Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho.
Hull brought in Alex Bruce and David Meyler for Liam Rosenior and George Boyd.
In a lacklustre opening, the two sides exchanged speculative efforts with Yannick Sagbo’s half-volley and Suarez’s inventive chip.
Suarez thought he had put the hosts ahead on 19 minutes when he headed home Coutinho’s free-kick, but the Uruguayan was denied by the linesman’s offside flag.
Raheem Sterling then had a great chance to break the deadlock for the hosts when he broke clear of the Hull defence on the left only to shoot straight at Allan McGregor.
Liverpool’s pressure told with nine minutes remaining in the half, though, as Agger leapt highest to head home Coutinho’s corner.
Rodgers’ team then spurned two great opportunities to extend their lead before half-time.
First, Jordan Henderson side-footed wide from the edge of the box following a superb passage of play, before Coutinho placed an effort wide of the near post after collecting Henderson’s intelligent pass.
Shortly after the break the home side did add a second. Suarez was fouled by James Chester and picked himself up to curl home a sublime free-kick from 25 yards, becoming the first Liverpool player to reach the 20-goal landmark in consecutive league campaigns since Robbie Fowler in 1994-95 and 1995-96 in the process.
Gerrard entered play shortly after the hour mark to a standing ovation and dragged an effort wide with 15 minutes remaining, while Coutinho twice went close from distance.
In the closing stages Suarez had another goal disallowed when he side-footed home from Kolo Toure’s centre, but the ball had gone out of play before the defender crossed.
Coutinho then almost had the final say in injury time as he forced McGregor into a stop from close range after a brilliant solo run, but Liverpool were made to settle for a two-goal winning margin.