Fernando Torres' much-anticipated Chelsea debut ended in disappointment for player and club as Raul Meireles sealed a memorable win for the Spaniard's former Liverpool team-mates.
Meireles hooked home from close range after 68 minutes to take the match - and potentially any lingering title aspirations - from the big-spending Blues.
It was a different story for £50m Torres though, with the most expensive player in British football history hauled off after 65 minutes.
The match was little more than a minute old when he had his first sight of Liverpool's goal, courtesy of a mislaid pass from Maxi Rodriguez.
The Spaniard took a couple of touches towards the edge of the area before aiming for the top corner, but there was too much elevation on the shot.
Liverpool continued to show nerves, Dirk Kuyt giving away possession in the middle of the park after under-hitting his pass to the lively Martin Kelly.
Torres followed suit when he next saw the ball, taking a heavy touch and surrendering possession under pressure from Steven Gerrard.
With Torres partnering Didier Drogba in attack, Nicolas Anelka's role was a more withdrawn one but the Frenchman struggled to create much in the opening 15 minutes.
Jamie Carragher and Kuyt combined well down the right to fashion a rare Liverpool attack but the Dutchman's cross could not find the waiting Meireles.