Luis Suarez scored two goals on his Premier League comeback as Liverpool climbed back up to second place with a hard-fought 3-1 victory at struggling Sunderland on Sunday.
Suarez added to Daniel Sturridge's opening goal to put Brendan Rodgers's side 2-0 ahead at the break against the winless and managerless hosts, who remain bottom of the table with just a single point from six games.
Sunderland pulled one back early in the second half through Emanuele Giaccherini, but Suarez celebrated the end of his 10-game ban with a second as stoppage time approached.
It had taken him only 36 minutes to score his first goal, having made his return from his suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last season in the mid-week League Cup loss at Manchester United.
Displaying all his predatory skills in the box, Suarez was on hand to slide home a low cross from Sturridge at the far post at the end of a sweeping move launched by a 50-yard pass from Steven Gerrard.
The 26-year-old raised his top as he was mobbed by his team-mates to reveal a T-shirt with a message welcoming his new-born son, Benjamin, to the world following his birth on Thursday.
Suarez's close-range strike doubled a lead procured by Sturridge after 28 minutes; the England forward's 11th goal in as many Premier League games.
There was a touch of controversy as the ball appeared to find the net via the Liverpool forward's elbow, as he rose unmarked to meet Gerrard's corner and record his seventh goal of the campaign.
In front of watching owner Ellis Short, Sunderland put in a hard-working performance for interim head coach Kevin Ball, who is in charge of the first team while the club seek a successor to the sacked Paolo Di Canio.
The hosts, who had already hit the bar through a powerful Sebastian Larsson free-kick, almost halved the deficit before the break, but former Black Cats goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved well with his feet to deny Craig Gardner from close range.
The result left Sunderland without a Premier League win in 10 attempts stretching back to April 20; the day before Suarez amazingly sank his teeth into Ivanovic's arm during a 2-2 draw at Anfield.
Not content to settle for a single goal on his return, the unmarked Liverpool forward should have done better when, shortly after the re-start, he fired across the face of goal when Sunderland failed to clear a corner.
To their credit, the Wearsiders stuck doggedly to their task, and fought their way back into the contest seven minutes into the second half courtesy of Giaccherini.
The Italian international pounced on a loose ball to slot home his third goal of the season after Mignolet saved Ki Sung-yueng's long-range shot.
Belgian international Mignolet was at full stretch moments later to keep out Gardner's angled drive as the hosts sensed an equaliser that had appeared highly unlikely at the break.
However, in their efforts to force parity, gaps inevitably opened at the back, and a cross-shot from victor Moses went agonisingly close to restoring Liverpool's two-goal cushion.
Westwood saved well to prevent Kolo Toure from making it three, only for Suarez to do just that with a close-range finish from another inviting Sturridge cross in the 89th minute.