Harry Kewell's 59th-minute volley was enough for Liverpool to claim a deserved victory against Tottenham.
Fernando Morientes had already hit the bar before the Australian smashed a Steve Finnan cross past Paul Robinson from eight yards.
Spurs were left to rue the golden opportunity missed by Robbie Keane shortly after half-time, firing wide from six yards.
Tottenham's Paul Stalteri saw red for a foul on Kewell in the closing stages.
The Spurs defence showed they had learned little from their FA Cup collapse at Leicester last week and it took an excellent save from Paul Robinson to stop Peter Crouch exposing them again in the opening stages.
Leaving the 6ft 7in striker unopposed from a free-kick swung in by Steven Gerrard was always asking for trouble.
It seemed a simple chance for the striker to nod home from six yards but Robinson rushed across his goal line and stopped the England forward's point-blank header.
Morientes connected with a firm header from 15 yards after a swinging cross from Finnan but, as Robinson scrambled back, the Spaniard's header hit the bar and Crouch was unable to do anything from the rebound.
Daniel Agger, introduced to the crowd at half-time following his £5.8m capture from Brondby, must have fancied his chances of getting into the Liverpool team after seeing the way Tottenham started after the break.
And the only man in the ground more disappointed than Reds boss Rafael Benitez, after an uncharacteristic defensive lapse, would have been Keane, who squandered a golden opportunity within seconds of the restart.
Jermaine Jenas carved out some space on the right and his cross for Keane was perfect but the Irishman jabbed the ball wide from six yards.
It was one they were to regret not taking because, despite being able to stop both Crouch and Gerrard, Robinson could do nothing when Kewell volleyed the home side into the lead.
The Australian never took his eyes off the ball floated in by Finnan and showed a lot of confidence for a player that had not scored for 29 games by crashing the ball past the England keeper at his near post.
Spurs were unable to get back into the game and their misery was completed when Edgar Davids limped off and full-back Stalteri was sent off after a foul on Kewell, when there seemed little contact.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"It was a difficult game for us but we did the right things against a good team.
"But we created a lot of chances and I can only remember them creating one or two.
"It was a fantastic goal for Harry and a great one for the team.
"He has been working very hard and playing really well. It was the kind of goal you dream about."
Tottenham head coach Martin Jol:
"Maybe we didn't create a lot but we still played well before they scored an amazing goal.
"We had a great chance for Robbie Keane and I thought the sending off was very harsh.
"Kewell did not have control of the ball and I think Paul Robinson would have got it and, with only 10 men, it was a lost cause.
"We did not pressurise the cross from the right and it was a terrific goal but I thought we deserved something out of the game."
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Gerrard, Alonso, Sissoko (Kromkamp 90), Kewell, Morientes (Warnock 83), Crouch (Cisse 66).
Subs Not Used: Carson, Sinama Pongolle.
Goal: Kewell 59.
Tottenham: Robinson, Stalteri, Dawson, King, Lee, Tainio (Defoe 67), Jenas, Carrick, Davids (Lennon 78), Mido, Keane.
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Brown, Gardner.
Sent Off: Stalteri (87).
Ref: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).