Dirk Kuyt struck in each half to give resurgent Liverpool their fourth successive win as they comfortably overcame Reading at Anfield.
Kuyt turned in from close range after 14 minutes when Peter Crouch headed Steven Gerrard’s cross into his path.
And he added a second 18 minutes from time, pouncing inside the six-yard box after Reading keeper Marcus Hahnemann failed to hold another Crouch header.
Reading had an early chance through James Harper, but ended well beaten.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was unable to name an unchanged team, having departed from his usual rotation policy against Bordeaux in the Champions League, with a hamstring injury ruling out Luis Garcia and Momo Sissoko rested.
Reading created the first clear opening after seven minutes, when Glen Little set up Harper, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by Jamie Carragher.
Liverpool were more clinical when they took the lead seven minutes later through Kuyt.
Gerrard’s cross was headed down by Crouch, and Kuyt was left with plenty of space to steer home his fourth goal of the season with Reading keeper Hahnemann helpless.
Hahnemann came to Reading’s rescue after 21 minutes, diving to his left to save after Ivar Ingimarsson had deflected Gerrard’s ball towards his own goal.
Liverpool had exerted total domination, and Kuyt could have doubled their lead seconds before the break when he headed Steve Finnan’s cross narrowly wide.
Reading held their own in the early stages of the second half, but Gerrard almost doubled Liverpool’s advantage with a glancing header from Jermaine Pennant’s corner that drifted just wide.
The visitors had the ball in the net after 70 minutes, but referee Uriah Rennie ruled substitute Andre Bikey – on for Sam Sodje – had fouled Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina.
Liverpool finally extended their lead two minutes later when Kuyt scored his second goal of the game.
Hahnemann could not hold Crouch’s header from a Pennant corner and Kuyt pounced with his left foot inside the six-yard area.