Dirk Kuyt struck twice as title-chasing Liverpool ground out a crucial 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory at Hull.
The Reds were given a rigorous test by the Tigers, who were reduced to 10 men, but held on to keep the pressure on Manchester United at the top.
Kuyt put Liverpool 2-0 up after a controversial Xabi Alonso strike in the first half but Hull battled hard and pulled one back through Geovanni after Caleb Folan was sent off. But Kuyt sealed the win in the closing minutes from close range.
Hull, with just one win in 17, showed an energy that belied their position, but it was Liverpool who made the breakthrough in the last minute of the first half, although Hull were far from happy when Javier Mascherano was ruled to have been fouled on the edge of the area.
Xabi Alonso fired the resulting free-kick into the wall but the rebound fell kindly and the Spaniard lashed home from 25 yards.
The atmosphere changed markedly just before the hour as Folan was sent off for kicking out at the recalled Martin Skrtel.
There could be no debate about the red card after Folan tussled with the defender trying to intercept a Jamie Carragher pass and then lashed out.
The hosts then switched off after Kamil Zayatte conceded a corner and a weak clearance allowed Skrtel to shoot and Kuyt to turn in the misdirected effort.
Tigers boss Phil Brown had attempted to shake things up just before Kuyt's goal by introducing Daniel Cousin and Bernard Mendy and the pair combined for Geovanni to score after 73 minutes.
But Kuyt wrapped up the points two minutes from time after Alvaro Arbeloa's deflected shot was pushed out by Boaz Myhill.
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