Liverpool scored two goals in four second-half minutes, including one from Joe Cole, to come from behind and snatch a 3-2 win over West Ham in the Premier League at Upton Park.
Glen Johnson fired a sensational opening goal into the far top corner but West Ham were in front by the break through a Mark Noble penalty - awarded for handball against Joe Allen - and Steven Gerrard's first ever Premier League own-goal.
Liverpool, playing with Jonjo Shelvey as a 'false nine' as Luis Suarez was suspended, lacked a cutting edge for most of the game.
However Cole, appearing from the bench, fired an equaliser with 24 minutes left, and soon after a James Collins own-goal under pressure from Shelvey at the near post put Liverpool ahead.
They move above Norwich and West Ham on goal difference into 10th.
With Andy Carroll injured, Carlton Cole started up front for West Ham while there was no place for Yossi Benayoun.
Liverpool were the better side early on, with Johnson afforded acres of space attacking from right-back. He took advantage on 11 minutes, cutting in and able to fire for goal from 30 yards with his right foot - and picking out the top corner beautifully.
Three minutes later he found Sterling inside the box, but the young winger fired wide despite having time and space following a decent first touch.
West Ham were direct but also looked to use their wingers, with Matt Jarvis on the left causing the most problems as the half wore on. On one such occasion only excellent defending from a retreating Daniel Agger prevented Carlton Cole from finishing inside the six-yard box.
Liverpool were unhappy at the award of the penalty in the 36th minute, as Allen could do little to prevent Guy Demel's volley striking his hand. It was close to his head, so the decision could have gone either way.
Noble despatched the spot-kick into the bottom corner and Upton Park began to lift off.
Within seven minutes, the East London faithful were celebrating going in front. A quick free-kick was taken short to Jarvis on the left - most of them were pumped into the box - and the one-cap England winger opted on this occasion to shift the ball on to his right foot to cross. Gerrard was first to the ball, but he was travelling backwards and only succeeded in directing it inside the near post.
Joe Cole had replaced the injured Jose Enrique halfway through the first half and also operated on the left of midfield in front of left-back and erstwhile winger Stewart Downing, with Sterling on the right.
In the second period the Reds, still lacking a man at the point of the attack, were more fluid on the ball which allowed Sterling to move around more and Downing to get forward. On 67 minutes the latter squared for Cole, who allowed the ball to run through him and along the face of the box where Sterling forced a rare save out of Jussi Jaaskelainen with a rising drive.
Soon afterwards Sterling and Downing combined again with the latter's cross headed wide of the near post by the falling Shelvey.
And six minutes further on, the goal Liverpool had suddenly threatened materialised. Sterling found Cole inside the box on the left and he fired inside the far post with his left foot.
They were not finished: on 79 minutes Jordan Henderson, on for Lucas eight minutes beforehand, crossed low from the right and Shelvey looked to have looped the ball over Jaaskelainen while stretching. In fact, the ball came off Collins's toe and not Shelvey at all, but he certainly celebrated as if he has notched his second Premier League goal for the club in 41 appearances.
With two minutes of normal time remaining Jaaskelainen was sharp to emerge from his box and deny Sterling as West Ham left space at the back, and in injury time Shelvey was denied what looked a definite penalty as Winston Reid sent him crashing to the deck.
We are told that Brendan Rodgers is building something at Liverpool - he may well be, but it will be difficult to tell what his side is capable of when they must play without a recognised striker. The three goals on Sunday will give them a lift, but they paper over the attacking cracks somewhat.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Matt Jarvis (West Ham) - Was a constant threat to Liverpool all afternoon and forced the own-goal from Gerrard.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen 6, Reid 5, Collins 6, Demel 6, O'Brien 6, Noble 7, Nolan 6, Diame 7, Jarvis 8, Taylor 7, Cole 6. Subs: McCartney 6, Tomkins 6, Maiga 6.
Liverpool: Reina 7, Johnson 8, Skrtel 7, Agger 7, Enrique 6, Lucas 6, Allen 5, Gerrard 6, Downing 6, Sterling 7, Shelvey 6. Subs: Cole 7, Henderson 6, Coates 6.