Robbie Keane's first goal in a Liverpool FC shirt and Steven Gerrard's 100th added to Dirk Kuyt's early opener to condemn PSV Eindhoven to their third UEFA Champions League defeat in three seasons at Anfield.
Six points out of a possible six have given Liverpool a perfect start to Group D, but their fortunes contrast starkly with those of point-less PSV, who had only a well-taken consolation goal by substitute Danny Koevermans to show for their now-regular visit to Merseyside. Rafael Benítez, celebrating his 250th match in charge, will rarely have had a more relaxing evening patrolling the touchline, with Liverpool looking like winners from the outset and the Dutch champions unable to stop the red tide amid the storm clouds bursting overhead.
If PSV were working to a strict game plan, it would almost certainly have included keeping Liverpool quiet and not conceding early on. That strategy lasted all of four minutes. Fernando Torres met a Gerrard corner with a firm volley and, although Andreas Isaksson did well to block with his feet, the goalkeeper was helpless when Kuyt drilled the rebound straight back at him and he could only deflect the Dutch striker's low drive into the roof of his net. The goal would have been particularly satisfying for Kuyt, a former Feyenoord favourite.
Satisfying does not begin to describe the emotions of the second marksman, Keane, who had been under intense pressure to open his Liverpool account following a €25m transfer from Tottenham Hostpur FC in the summer. Torres supplied an inviting cross after skipping away from Carlos Salcido on the right flank and Keane neatly clipped the ball past Isaksson into the far corner on 34 minutes. The roar which greeted the second goal was even louder than the first – a rarity for these occasions, such was the collective relief around Anfield for the Republic of Ireland forward, making his eleventh appearance for his boyhood club.
Any faint hopes PSV had of clawing their way back into the match faded fast after that. Liverpool's slick passing game had the perfect stage, with the rain-soaked surface providing the ideal platform to spray the ball back and forth. Nordin Amrabat's shot over the bar from distance in the 20th minute had been PSV's best opportunity of the first half and proceedings seemed unlikely to alter radically after the restart. The same player tried his luck from 20 metres on the hour, failing to call Pepe Reina into action, although PSV looked at least to be enjoying more possession than they had done.
Spain striker Torres should have added a third when clean through, but his captain Gerrrard showed him the way by driving in a thunderbolt free-kick from 25 metres to bring up his century of goals for the Reds in the 76th minute. Two minutes later, Koevermans pulled one back for PSV with a smart finish from a cross by Balázs Dzsudzsák, but the outcome was never in doubt.