Liverpool snatched victory over Reading through Dirk Kuyt's 86th-minute winner.
The Royals felt they should have had a penalty when Jose Reina clipped Steve Hunt but Alvaro Arbeloa's breakaway goal put the Reds in front soon after.
Reading levelled through Brynjar Gunnarsson's fierce shot and almost led when Peter Crouch headed John Oster's free-kick against his own bar.
Liverpool were short of ideas but stole the points when substitute Kuyt nodded home Jermaine Pennant's deep cross.
With Arsenal losing at home to West Ham, the victory moved Liverpool five points clear of the Gunners in third place in the Premiership table.
Defeat was harsh on Steve Coppell's side who gave as good as they got in their first home game in their history against the Reds.
Reading's form has dipped in recent weeks and they are still without a win in six games in all competitions.
But this was an impressive performance against a Liverpool side who have put a total of seven goals past Arsenal and PSV in the last seven days.
It is arguable that the Reds were jaded after their impressive midweek exploits in the Champions League.
But that should take nothing away from the endeavour that Reading showed from the off.
Reina was lucky that referee Peter Walton chose to ignore his tangle with Hunt in the area after the Liverpool keeper had pushed away Oster's shot inside the first 10 minutes.
The Reds looked happiest soaking up the home side's pressure and counter-attacking on the break so it was perhaps predictable that it was from another Royals chance that Liverpool took the lead.
Nicky Shorey's free-kick hit the Liverpool wall and Arbeloa won possession on the edge of the area before sprinting up the field, exchanging passes with Crouch, and calmly lifting the ball over Marcus Hahnemann and into the corner of the net.
It was a great goal that set the pattern for the rest of the half - with Reading enjoying most of the possession but the visitors looking dangerous on the break.
It was only after half-time that Steve Coppell's side worked out how to break down the Liverpool back-line - and it brought them an instant reward.
Hunt's clever pass into the area found Gunnarsson steaming in at the far post and he smashed home a low shot past Reina.
It almost got better for Reading when Hunt met Oster's cross with a goalbound volley that deflected wide off Jamie Carragher.
And the Royals went close again when Crouch's attempt to clear a curling Oster free-kick saw him direct his header against the woodwork.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez responded by bringing on Kuyt for Craig Bellamy and the game swung in the favour of the visitors.
The Dutch striker wasted no time in getting involved and sent his first shot on target rolling agonisingly wide of both the post and a sliding Steven Gerrard.
Reading were still looking for the win themselves and sent on leading scorer Leroy Lita to provide some inspiration.
But that came at the other end when another Liverpool substitute, Pennant, swung in an enticing cross that Kuyt gratefully headed home for the winner.
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Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Arbeloa, Gerrard, Sissoko, Mascherano, Gonzalez (Riise 79), Crouch (Pennant 65), Bellamy (Kuyt 50).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Agger.
Goals: Arbeloa 15, Kuyt 86.
Reading: Hahnemann, Gunnarsson, Ingimarsson, Duberry (Bikey 46), Shorey, Oster (Lita 82), Sidwell, Harper, Hunt, Doyle, Kitson.
Subs Not Used: Federici, Long, Halford.
Booked: Kitson, Hahnemann.
Goals: Gunnarsson 47.
Ref: P Walton (Northamptonshire).
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