THE GAME IN PICTURES
Dirk Kuyt celebrates his opener
Pennant returned to the side
Gerrard had a commanding role back in the middle
Liverpool's rehabilitation from their painful early season form continued apace with their fourth victory at Anfield in 11 days thanks to two goals from Dirk Kuyt.
They went go-karting in midweek for a spot of team bonding but they took a long time to get revved up as Reading set out to spoil from the start.
But the win stretched their unbeaten home league record to 22 matches, dating back 13 months to the hammering by Chelsea last October.
For Reading their early season promise is beginning to wane as they fell to their fourth successive league defeat.
Liverpool relied on two more goals, one in each half, from their Dutch summer signing as they toiled for victory.
Rafael Benitez's side were without Luis Garcia because of a hamstring problem and Mohamed Sissoko was rested on the bench, which meant Jermaine Pennant and Bolo Zenden came into a side unbeaten at home in the league for 13 months.
Reading, who lost 4-3 at Anfield in the Carling Cup last week, brought in Glen Little and Sam Sodje for their first Premiership starts.
And they started as if they had taken to heart Reading boss Steve Coppell's pleas that his team should not to be frightened of Liverpool.
Little got away on the right after seven minutes and found Bryn Gunnarsson 10 yards out but his crisp shot hit Jamie Carragher and bounced just wide.
That shocked Liverpool out of their initial lethargy and with Steven Gerrard back into central midfield they went ahead after 14 minutes.
Gerrard's neat chip into the box was nodded down by Peter Crouch and with Marcus Hahnemann in two minds whether to come for the ball Kuyt fired into an open goal from six yards.
For the rest of the first half Liverpool sought to string together their passes and another Gerrard flighted ball into the box was met by Kuyt's flicked header with Hahnemann saving well to his left.
Pennant tested the Reading keeper from 20 yards and then Jamie Carragher - on his 300th league appearance for the club - ventured into unchartered waters as he raced from the back to drive just over the angle.
Reading strung five across the back and left Kevin Doyle up front, attempting to deny Liverpool space, but it was an increasing struggle to halt the flow of the home side.
Kuyt had a long-range strike deflected wide and saw two headers bounce across goal, and Reading did well to survive until the break without further damage.
Carragher had to be sharp to force the ball away from Stephen Hunt in the box but Liverpool were soon back on the offensive with even Sami Hyypia coming forward to boost the attacking numbers.
Steve Sidwell was booked for dissent as Reading made the most of their best ammunition from set-pieces and there were some anxious moments in the Liverpool defence.
It was a horrible match to watch, lightened by another run from Hyypia which ended with another 20-yard shot flying just over.
Sodje was then booked for clattering into the back of Kuyt but it was no surprise when Mark Gonzalez replaced Zenden after 65 minutes in an attempt to add some variety and movement.
Gerrard headed wide from Pennant's corner before Ibrahima Sonko forced the ball home from a corner only for the effort ruled out because of a foul on Reina.
Liverpool's second goal came when Pennant's 73rd-minute corner was diverted by Crouch's head into Hahnemann and it dropped for Kuyt to force home from three yards.
It secured the points, albeit not with the sort of flowing style Liverpool would have hoped for.
Paul Walker, PA Sport
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