It took Liverpool a while to break down a stubborn Hull City, but once they did, they were never going to relinquish their lead. Steve Bruce's side were defensively solid but offensively impotent, ensuring that the Reds had a pretty comfortable start to the new year.
There was little in the way of action in the opening 20 minutes, with Liverpool in control but struggling to break through the well-drilled Hull defence. Philippe Coutinho had a couple of shots from outside the area, but there was little that troubled the Tigers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Hull sat pretty deep and managed to soak up Liverpool's pressure through the middle, though found themselves in a little more trouble when the Reds went route one. After 25 minutes Raheem Sterling had the first clear-cut chance when Luis Suárez flicked a long ball into his path and in behind Hull's back three, though from a tight angle the winger couldn't convert.
With the hosts dominating possession but playing in front of Hull, it was little surprise that it took a set piece for them to break the deadlock. Inside the final 10 minutes of the half Coutinho's corner was nodded in by Daniel Agger, with Liverpool having looked most threatening from set-pieces throughout.
The floodgates could've opened after the opener, with both Coutinho and Jordan Henderson firing wide from the edge of the area on the stroke of halftime. Hull's impressive concentration was waning, though they survived to the break with Liverpool just one goal up.
Unfortunately, that didn't last long into the second half. Suárez had been kept pretty quiet in the first half, though five minutes into the second he stepped up to curl a perfect free-kick beyond McGregor and into the top corner of the Hull goal for his 20th of the Premier League season.
Despite Hull abandoning their defence-first approach with a triple sub just short of the hour, it was too late. The damage had been done. The game ended with Hull having failed to record a single shot on Simon Mignolet's goal, and Liverpool picking up a pretty routine win -- even if it took them a while to break their stubborn visitors down.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Cissokho, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson (Touré 55'); Henderson, Lucas; Sterling (Moses 76'), Coutinho, Aspas (Gerrard 62'); Suárez.
Goals: Agger (36'), Suárez (50').
Hull City: McGregor; Davies, Bruce, Chester; Figueroa, Livermore, Huddlestone, Meyler (Boyd 59'), Elmohamady; Koren (Graham 59'); Sagbo (Fryatt 58').