Liverpool 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Steven Gerrard bagged his first goal in open play since September as Liverpool ended their 2009 Anfield campaign on a high with a hard-fought win over ten-man Wolves.

Wolves, who had collected nine points from their last four matches, more than matched a Liverpool side that was shorn of confidence, having lost seven times in the league already this season.

But with Fernando Torres and Gerrard in Rafa Benitez's starting line-up and with Stephen Ward given his marching orders for two yellow cards, the under-fire Reds turned up the heat.

Gerrard thumped a header home on 62 minutes before Yossi Benayoun added a second when his shot deflected off Karl Henry and past the helpless Marcus Hahnemann.

It was Wolves that started the match the brighter and Republic of Ireland international striker Kevin Doyle had a glorious chance to open the scoring on 23 minutes, only to head over from close range when completely unmarked.

Serbia's Nenad Milijas then whistled a stinging effort just past the post on the half-hour mark as the tension among the Anfield faithful grew.

Liverpool began the second half with greater urgency and Gerrard stung the palms of Hahnemann just nine minutes after the break.

Two minutes later, Ward collected a second booking for a desperate lunge on Lucas Leiva, which handed the impetus to Benitez's men.

And it took the Reds less than ten minutes to make their numerical advantage count as Gerrard rose highest to meet Emiliano Insua's cross as he powered home his fifth league goal of the season.

With the wind in their sails Liverpool turned things up a gear and found themselves two goals to the good on 70 minutes when Benayoun picked up the loose ball, cut inside and unleashed a shot which took a wicked deflection off Henry.

Gerrard then saw a late long-range effort just miss the target as Liverpool eventually ran out comfortable winners.