Liverpool's long wait for a home league win over Manchester United finally ended on Saturday when Ryan Babel came off the bench to give them a deserved 2-1 victory over the champions.
Carlos Tevez had put United ahead after three minutes, with a Wes Brown own goal levelling before Babel struck 13 minutes from time to secure their first home win against United for seven years.
"It's been far too long now, it's not just the three points it's the belief and the confidence," Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports News.
"For too long now we've been off the pace, it's been United and Chelsea. It gives us a bit of breathing space at the top of the league and that's where we should be."
Liverpool had lost five and drawn one of the previous six home league games against their big rivals and looked set for another defeat when new signing Dimitar Berbatov set up Tevez to fire the visitors into the lead after three minutes.
Keeper Edwin Van der Sar gifted Liverpool an equaliser after 27 minutes when he parried Xabi Alonso's long shot directly against the legs of Brown and it flew straight in for an own goal.
Liverpool were the more positive and determined side after the break and Rafa Benitez, searching for his first league win over United since arriving at Anfield four years ago, threw on Steven Gerrard and Babel midway through the second half.
It was an error by United substitute Ryan Giggs that handed Liverpool the winner.
The vastly experienced winger tried to shepherd a loose ball out for a goal kick but Javier Mascherano got a foot in to hook it to Kuyt. He calmly picked out fellow Dutchman Babel who, despite something of a mis-hit, found the roof of the net.
United, who lost Michael Carrick to injury, completed a day to forget when centre back Nemanja Vidic was sent off for his second wild challenge of the half.
He will be suspended for next weekend's visit to Chelsea.
"The defending was very poor for both goals," said United manager Alex Ferguson. "But overall they were the better team.
"Liverpool produced a performance of tackling and harassing us and making us make mistakes and we didn't cope with that."
Benitez said: "We showed character, quality, worked very hard and in the second half we were the better team.
"It was really important for the confidence of the players. We know we can beat anyone."