Liverpool are up to fifth in the Premier League table after recording a comfortable victory over Newcastle.
Liverpool dominated the early exchanges and took a 10th-minute lead through Maxi Rodriguez's deflected volley.
Newcastle competed for 50 minutes until Mike Williamson fouled Luis Suarez for a penalty that Dirk Kuyt scored.
Suarez's neat close-range finish sealed the win for Liverpool, for whom former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll came off the bench for the final 20 minutes.
Inevitably, the build-up to the game was dominated by talk of Carroll, who the Reds recycled £35m of the £50m fee they received from Chelsea for Fernando
Torres to purchase from Newcastle late in the January transfer window.
Having spent the last few weeks sidelined with a knee injury, the big number nine was an ominous presence for his former side on the Liverpool bench and sparked an entertaining vocal war of attrition between opposing fans every time he appeared on the touchline for a warm-up and during his late cameo.
Newcastle though had enough to worry about prior to that, having to cope with a Liverpool attack that has fired Liverpool to a very realistic chance of qualification for the Europa League following a run that has seen them take 30 points from their last 14 games.
Suarez again demonstrated the predatory instincts and creativity that persuaded the Reds to part with £22.7m to sign him from Ajax in January , while Dirk Kuyt extended the richest goalscoring form of his Liverpool career by scoring in his fourth successive game.
In Liverpool's previous game, eight days ago, winger Rodriguez scored three of his side's five goals in a hammering of struggling Birmingham and it was the Argentine winger who again gave his side the lead on Sunday.
The home side had already threatened through Raul Meireles' miscued sixth-minute shot before going ahead in the 10th.
Teenage full-back John Flanagan provided a testing cross from the right which Mike Williamson could only partially head clear, allowing Rodriguez to volley a shot from 12 yards that took a crucial deflection off Danny Simpson and past keeper Tim Krul.
It was the high-point of a 25-minute opening period, during which Liverpool dominated possession but created few real goalscoring chances.
Impressive teenage midfielder Jay Spearing was involved in their two other best attacking moves of the half, firstly forcing keeper Krul into a low save with a 25-yard shot and then later provided a superb pin-point cross from the right which Lucas headed straight at the United keeper from 10 yards out.
As the half wore on, Newcastle grew as a presence in the game but barring some well-delivered Joey Barton free-kicks, they only had a Kevin Nolan's miscued effort from a corner to show for their efforts.
They did though fashion the first opportunity of the second half when Nolan crossed for Barton but his shot flew past the post and with it went their best chance of forging a first away win since February.
Williamson misjudged an attempt to shepherd the ball out at the byline, allowing Suarez to nip the ball past him. Realising the threat the Uruguayan now posed, the defender dragged him down for a penalty that Kuyt stroked home for his eighth goal in seven games.
The Dutchman should have added another minutes later when Meireles' cross found him unmarked six yards out, but he failed to connect properly with his header and put it wide.
However, he did play a pivotal role in his side's third goal, flicking a superb short pass through a crowd of defenders to find Suarez, who neatly finished from eight yards out.
To rub salt into Newcastle wounds, Liverpool used the final 20 minutes to parade Carroll, whose 11 goals for his former side earlier in the season played a major part in securing them a second successive season in the Premier League and who may well yet play a significant role in helping his new side to European qualification next campaign.