Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse came off the bench to inspire his side to victory over CSKA Moscow in the Uefa Super Cup in Monaco.
Daniel Carvalho gave CSKA the lead when he slotted past keeper Pepe Reina, who rashly rushed out of his goal.
The Reds drew level when a Reina goal-kick broke for Cisse to tap home to send the game into extra-time.
Cisse needed two attempts to grab his second before crossing for Luis Garcia to head home for the Reds’ third.
Liverpool started with seven players who figured in their dramatic triumph against AC Milan in the Champions League and they quickly took a stranglehold on the game.
Garcia was proving an elusive customer for CSKA, but he saw an early chance vanish when his control let him down and then failed to find the target twice when he had time and space 20 yards out.
The Reds were comfortably dominating possession but could not find their shooting boots.
Fernando Morientes was next to strike a tame shot which was deflected safely into CSKA keeper Igor Akinfeev’s arms.
Liverpool’s profligacy was ruthlessly punished by CSKA when they took the lead just a minute after Krasic had given the English side a warning by sending a diagonal shot narrowly wide.
Carvalho made no such mistake when he got in behind the Reds defence and easily slotted past Reina from the corner of the area.
Liverpool’s poor play in attack will only fuel the fire of speculation linking Michael Owen with a return to the club and Garcia squandered another chance to compound their frustration.
It was more of the same for Liverpool after the break with Josemi blazing over as they continued probing for a goal while CSKA sat back waiting to counter attack.
The Russian side paid the price for their negativity when Liverpool levelled.
Reina launched a long goal-kick which Garcia chested onto Cisse and, after defender Sergey Ignashevich’s attempted clearance struck the Liverpool striker, he was left with an empty net to tap home.
The goal took the game into extra-time and Cisse, whose Anfield future has been put in doubt in the last week, grabbed the winner and set up the third.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: “All the team knew it was important to work hard and then the game was almost ready for Cisse in the second half.
“We needed fresh legs and I always say the same in that we have good players and we need to use them.
“We always controlled the game. When we scored we had more space. We made one mistake and conceded a goal but thought if we keep working the same we can score.”
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan (Sinama Pongolle 55), Hyypia, Riise (Cisse 79), Luis Garcia, Alonso (Sissoko 71), Hamann, Josemi, Morientes, Carragher, Zenden.
Subs Not Used: Carson, Warnock.
Booked: Zenden, Luis Garcia, Hyypia, Sinama Pongolle.
Goals: Cisse 82, 102, Luis Garcia 109.
CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Alexei Berezutsky, Vasili Berezutsky, Ordia (Gusev 90), Daniel Carvalho, Vagner Love, Krasic (Dudu 85), Zhirkov (Semberas 66), Aldonin, Rahimic.
Subs Not Used: Mandrykin, Samodin.