A SECOND-HALF treble earned Liverpool their first Premier League win since Boxing Day and eased the pressure on beleaguered manager Rafael Benitez.
Peter Crouch, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard netted after the break against lowly Sunderland to end a five-game run without a top-flight victory for the Anfield outfit.
Crouch’s strike - his fourth in his last five games - broke Sunderland’s resistance in the 57th minute, with Torres adding his 18th goal of the season 12 minutes later.
Gerrard sealed the win with an 89th-minute penalty after Jermaine Pennant was adjudged to have been upended by Nyron Nosworthy.
This win moves Liverpool to within a point of neighbours Everton in the race for fourth place and the final Champions League qualification berth, and retain a game in hand.