Steven Gerrard came to Liverpool's rescue as their captain's first league goal of the season guided them to a narrow win over Manchester City.
Gerrard scored his second goal in two games
Gerrard crashed a swerving shot past Nicky Weaver after Dutchman Dirk Kuyt intercepted Joey Barton's poor pass.
Before the goal City had frustrated Liverpool and might have taken the lead themselves had Bernardo Corradi taken a couple of reasonable chances.
Georgios Samaras also went close with a clever shot in the last 10 minutes.
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Gerrard had scored in the midweek Champions League win over PSV Eindhoven and his goal against City was eerily similar in the way he powered to the edge of the box before scoring with an unstoppable shot.
After a sluggish start to the campaign the Liverpool captain is looking almost back to his best, having scored two goals in three games since moving to the centre of midfield.
Liverpool deployed an intriguing 3-5-2 formation with Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger strung along the back.
Hyypia, who had not played since the defeat at Arsenal a fortnight ago, was responsible for creating Liverpool's best chance in the opening half.
The Finn's raking pass was collected by Luis Garcia, who cut inside, only to then shoot into the side netting.
City's formation highlighted Micah Richards' positional flexibility as the newly-capped England international, who played as a right-back against Holland in the recent friendly, was given the role of an attacking midfielder.
Just before the half-hour Richards cleverly set up Corradi, who lamely shot wide.
That miss had been preceded by a good chance for Hatem Trabelsi, who also might have done better with his shot.
Prior to that City purple patch, Liverpool's more promising openings had come from some sloppy defending by Richard Dunne.
A mistake from the Republic of Ireland defender allowed Kuyt to set up Peter Crouch, who volleyed over the bar.
A second error from Dunne, this time a misplaced pass, allowed a shot at goal from Gerrard, whose fizzing effort went narrowly wide.
Rafael Benitez brought on Jermaine Pennant for Garcia to try and reinvigorate Liverpool's attack on the hour, but the next chance fell to Corradi, whose instinctive volley momentarily worried Jose Reina.
City's gritty performance had had the effect of subduing Anfield, but the visitors were finally undone by Barton's poorly placed pass.
Kuyt pounced on Barton's error, flicking the ball to Gerrard, who shot home to claim that elusive first league goal of the season.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez:
"It was certainly important for him to score his first in the Premiership this season.
"It will give him more confidence and he is a player of such quality we know he can do things like that.
"And he is now playing well, happier when he scores goals and happier with his performances generally."
Man City manager Stuart Pearce:
"You cannot give Gerrard the ball like that 20 yards out.
"If you do, all the hard work that has been put in goes down the drain. They had thrown everything at us and they were not going to break us down.
It was one costly mistake and that is what happens when you are playing a top-four club."
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Luis Garcia (Pennant 59), Gerrard, Zenden, Riise, Crouch (Fowler 65), Kuyt (Bellamy 89).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Paletta.
Booked: Luis Garcia, Carragher.
Goals: Gerrard 67.
Man City: Weaver, Onuoha (Samaras 74), Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Reyna, Trabelsi (Ireland 85), Richards, Barton, Vassell, Corradi.
Subs Not Used: Hart, Dickov, Hamann.
Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).