A goal in either half was enough to give Lazio victory at the Armando Picchi. Stefano Mauri took advantage of a Francesco Bardi howler to put the Biancocelesti ahead, before Antonio Candreva sealed the victory from the penalty spot. Livorno stay second from bottom and three points from safety.
Both sets of fans held a bitter rivalry, while both teams came into the game with contrasting objectives. Livorno needed the points to beat relegation, and Lazio knew that a win would keep them in the European race.
Davide Nicola was back for a second stint on the Amaranto bench in the wake of Domenico Di Carlo's sacking last week. Nicola himself was originally sacked in January, not long after a 2-0 loss to Lazio in the reverse fixture. He had to do without injured quartet Federico Ceccherini, Andrea Luci, Ibrahima Mbaye and Innocent Emeghara.
Lazio had a long list of absentees themselves. Stefan Radu and Diego Novaretti were both banned and Federico Marchetti, Andre Dias, Abdoulay Konko, Ederson, Miroslav Klose and Helder Postiga were all injured.
Bardi showed good reflexes to push clear an early Mauri volley. The home side enjoyed a brief spell of dominance. Leandro Greco threaded through for Luca Siligardi to thrash a shot just over. Etrit Berisha collided with the post when he got down low to keep out a Marco Biagianti header. The Albanian required medical attention to his midsection before being able to resume duties between the sticks.
Djamel Mesbah went down under a challenge from Michael Ciani in the box. No penalty was given and Lazio rubbed salt in the wounds by taking the lead against the run of play on 15 minutes. Mauri cushioned Lulic's cross and the Lazio captain's low shot from a tight angle somehow squirmed underneath Bardi at his near post.
Berisha kept a Greco shot from going under the crossbar and Onazi's shot deflected into Bardi's arms after a flowing team move. Bardi redeemed himself for the earlier howler by flying to deny a Lucas Biglia screamer. As the first half came to a close, Ciani got the better of Paulinho in the box, then took advantage of Siligardi's reluctance to shoot and dispossessed the forward.
On the stroke of half time, Candreva was penalised for a handball on the edge of the box. Greco crossed for Leandro Rinaudo to send a free header over the bar.
Lazio were awarded a penalty six minutes after the break. Rinaudo blocked Mauri's low shot with his arm, although a replay showed it was hard for the Livorno defender to get his arm out of the way in time. Rinaudo was cautioned for angrily protesting the decision and will miss next week's game at Udinese. Candreva put the spot kick beyond the outstretched arm of Bardi in the far corner and refused to celebrate against one of his former clubs. The winger's 12th goal of the season took him past Hernanes and Pavel Nedved as the highest scoring Lazio midfielder in a single campaign.
Bardi kept out a Keita Balde drive on the hour, then argued a decision to award a corner which resulted in another costly booking. The goalkeeper will also miss next weekend's game after being an ever present in the Livorno goal so far. The shotstopper regained his focus to keep out Ogenyi Onazi. The Nigerian latched onto Candreva's cross and Bardi blocked the effort with his legs.
Despite moving to a more attacking shape, it took Livorno until the 85th minute to fashion a first real goalscoring chance of the half. Siligardi found space and stung Berisha's palms from just inside the box. Mesbah ensured he will join Rinaudo and Bardi in the sin bin next week when he was cautioned for a late foul on Keita.
Felipe Anderson broke clear in the closing stages, only to get his angles wrong and send a wayward effort well past the far post.
Livorno: Bardi; Valentini, (Bruzzi 80) Rinaudo, Emerson, Castellini; (Piccini 63) Duncan, Biagianti, Greco; (Belfodil 53) Paulinho, Siligardi, Mesbah
Lazio: Berisha; Pereirinha, Ciani, Cana, Lulic; Onazi, (Gonzalez 71) Ledesma, Biglia; Mauri; Candreva, (Anderson 81) Keita (Perea 88)
Goals: Mauri 15, Candreva pen 51