Liverpool came from behind twice to secure a pulsating 3-2 victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium.
In an absorbing encounter, Kevin Davies gave Bolton the lead when he stabbed over the line from close-range following a corner midway through the first half.
Glen Johnson drew the Reds level with a powerful left-foot effort from the edge of the box, but Wanderers restored their advantage moments into the second half thanks to Tamir Cohen.
However, Sean Davis was sent off for the home team ten minutes after the restart and Fernando Torres equalised with a fine finish following good work from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt.
And, with just seven minutes remaining, Gerrard collected Torres' knock-down and smashed an unstoppable volley past Jussi Jaaskelainen from 12 yards to claim an impressive three points for Liverpool.
New signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos was handed his Reds debut following his recent transfer from AEK Athens. The Greek international partnered Jamie Carragher at the heart of the defence after impressing for the reserves in midweek.
Young Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi took his place on the bench as a replacement for Diego Cavalieri, with Liverpool's Brazilian custodian having flown home following the death of his father - the Reds players wore black armbands in his honour.
Although the openings exchanges were fairly quiet at the Reebok, Fernando Torres and Lucas Leiva both looped early headers over the bar.
The Reds came close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute. After cutting inside from the right, Glen Johnson steered a left footed effort goalwards that Torres was only millimetres away from turning into the back of the net with his head.
Moments after, the striker almost latched onto Kyrgiakos' ball over the top as the Reds began to assume control of the game - although our new Greek defender had to produce a commanding header from inside his own six yard box to deny Johan Elmander an effort on goal as Bolton mustered a rare sortie forward.
Bolton were becoming increasingly reliant on counter-attacks, but the Reds produced one of their own just shy of the half hour mark to almost devastating effect.
After Johnson had reclaimed possession for the visitors, Lucas threaded a through ball into the path of Torres, who held off the challenge of Gary Cahill, but saw his chipped effort grasped by Bolton 'keeper Jaaskelainen.
However, the home side broke the deadlock against the run of play in the 33rd minute when Elmander rose above Emiliano Insua to head a Bolton corner back across the face of goal, where Davies was on hand to tap over the line in what was Wanderers' first chance of any real note.
Liverpool responded positively and Torres dragged a half-volley wide of the far post following Johnson's centre.
The Reds deservedly equalised four minutes before the break. A half-cleared corner found its way to Johnson lurking on the edge of the box, and the full-back turned inside onto his left boot before firing a low drive into Jaaskelainen's near post from 20 yards.
A flying save from Pepe Reina to divert Matt Taylor's free-kick over the bar ensured the two teams went into the break on level terms.
However, seconds after the restart, Bolton regained the lead when Jaaskelainen's free-kick into the Liverpool box was flicked on by Davies and Cohen - son of ex-Red Avi - arrived on cue to smash the loose ball past Reina at close-range.
Kyrgiakos headed narrowly wide in Liverpool's response and Bolton were reduced to ten men in the 54th minute when Sean Davis was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a cynical foul on Lucas as the game sparked into life.
The away side were lifted by the dismissal and, after Gerrard had rattled Jaaskelainen's crossbar with a rasping volley, Torres drew Liverpool level for the second time in the game on 57 minutes.
Gerrard's ball into the box was chested into the path of El Nino by Kuyt, and the Reds' striker made no mistake in dispatching a clinical shot into the corner of the goal from eight yards.
With the advantage of the extra man, Liverpool pushed and probed in search of a third goal to put themselves into the lead for the first time, and Gerrard twice tried his luck from distance before Torres guided a header wide.
With time ebbing away, the Reds forced a flurry of corners and the pressure finally told with seven minutes left on the clock.
Johnson's cross from a short flag-kick was brilliantly headed back into Gerrard's path by Torres and the No.8 let fly with a stinging volley into the top corner to put Benitez's men in front - the skipper simply does not miss those type of chances.
There was still time for Jaaskelainen to block a Torres effort on the line, but Liverpool had done enough to claim a welcome - and deserved - three points.
14:01 GMT : Match Starts 1 min : Alan Wiley gets the game underway at the Reebok. Liverpool in red 1 min : The Liverpool players wearing black armbands in support of Diego Cavalieri, whose father passed away 3 mins : Johnson has space down the right hand side, his cross to the far post is headed over by Torres 5 mins : Kyrgaikos heads clear under pressure from Bolton's first free kick of the afternoon 8 mins : Neat play from Reina to keep the ball away from Davies and launch the Reds on another attack 9 mins : Riera is clattered from behind by Ricketts - we have a chance to get the ball into the box 12 mins : Mascherano is next to be taken out by a Bolton player as Davies launches into a wild tackle. No yellow card though 12 mins : Johnson cuts in onto his left foot and his shot towards the far corner just evades Torres who only needed a touch to score 14 mins : First Booking: Gary Cahill: Cahill goes into the book for a late tackle on Torres 17 mins : We're completely dominating the game so far - let's hope we can make our pressure and possession tell 18 mins : Really good cross from Riera which almost finds Lucas at the far post 22 mins : Riera lashes a shot goalwards from outside the area but the ball flies wide 26 mins : Lucas and Johnson combine but the full back's touch is too strong and a chance of a shot is gone 30 mins : Good defending from Kyrgiakos to head the danger clear after Bolton get the ball into the Liverpool area 31 mins : Good chance for Torres after weaving his way into space but Jaaskelainen saves his shot 33 mins : GOAL! Kevin Davies: Davies opens the scoring with a tap-in from Knight's header 36 mins : Bolton have a corner as they look to add to their lead. Big spell of the game now - we can't afford to concede another 37 mins : First Booking: Fabrice Muamba: Late tackle on Riera 39 mins : Torres blasts the ball wide of target after controlling the ball on a tight angle 41 mins : GOAL! Glen Johnson: Johnson drives a left footed shot into the bottom corner from outside the area to level the scores 45 mins : Lucas concedes a free kick on the edge of the area 45 mins : Bolton win a couple of late corners which we defend well 45 mins : First Booking: Sean Davis: 14:48 GMT : Half Time Reached 15:04 GMT : Second Half Begins 46 mins : Liverpool get the second period underway 47 mins : GOAL! Tamir Cohen: Cohen smashes the ball past Reina after it falls nicely to him inside the area 50 mins : We have a free kick in a dangerous area as we look to get back onto level terms again 51 mins : Kyrgiakos heads the ball wide at the far post as the free kick is floated in deep 53 mins : Gerrard's free kick is deflected behind for a corner which comes to nothing 55 mins : Sending Off: Sean Davis: Second yellow card for a foul on Lucas 56 mins : Gerrard blasts a right footed effort spectacularly against the bar. Brilliant effort from the skipper 57 mins : GOAL! Fernando Torres: Torres takes Kuyt's pass in his path and slots home the equaliser 58 mins : First Booking: Steven Gerrard: 61 mins : Mascherano's long range drive is well held by Jaaskelainen 62 mins : Substitution: Yossi Benayoun for Albert Riera: 66 mins : Gerrard curls the ball towards the top corner but just misses the target 67 mins : Kuyt has space on the right and slots a pass across the face of goal, but can't find a red shirt 72 mins : Kuyt has space on the right but drives a shot disappointingly wide 74 mins : Substitution: Andriy Voronin for Javier Mascherano: 75 mins : Johnson's shot from distance is gathered by Jaaskelainen 78 mins : Substitution: Gretar Rafn Steinsson for Tamir Cohen: 80 mins : Ten minutes to go - we're dominating play but running out of time to grab a winner 83 mins : Johnson's cross is turned away for another corner 83 mins : GOAL! Steven Gerrard: Super strike from the captain as he drives the ball into the roof of the net to give us a deserved lead 86 mins : Benayoun volleys wide and then Torres has a shot somehow scrambled off the line 87 mins : Substitution: Andrea Dossena for Dirk Kuyt: 90 mins : Substitution: Mustapha Riga for Fabrice Muamba: 15:53 GMT : Match Over