Leicester Tigers claimed a bonus-point 36-16 victory over Worcester Warriors at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday.
But an interception try for Warriors, who had to cope for a period with 13 men after two yellow cards to front-row forwards earlier on, kept them in the game during a scrappy second period.
After consecutive league defeats by Wasps and Sale Sharks, the five-point return was assured when Tommy Reffell ran in his first try of the season, though Tigers closed the afternoon with 13 men after Olly Robinson and Saumaki were sin-binned in the final stages.
Liebenberg led the team out in the Gallagher Premiership Round 15 encounter in his first starting appearance since the Round 11 win over Harlequins, though Tigers were without five players with England on the opening weekend of the Six Nations.
The outcome was a fifth successive win in meetings with Worcester who were unable to add to their two previous victories at the venue.
Tigers got the game started and immediately got on the attack as Liebenberg took ball down the right, but his offload was adjudged forward.
Warriors made good territory on their left, with scrum-half Gareth Simpson free in possession until Gorge Martin made an important tackle.
A swirling and strengthening wind challenged the tams, but Tigers took the possession route to an opening score on nine minutes, keeping ball in hand for Saumaki to break a tackle on the left touchline and run in for his sixth try of the season – and first in the Gallagher Premiership.
Strong defensive work from Julian Montoya and Dan Cole, then Liebenberg and Dan Kelly repelled Warriors carriers just beyond halfway, but a breakdown penalty gave the visitors an opportunity to play to their set-piece on the touchline in front of the North Stand until Calum Green stole the lineout.
Second-rower Justin Clegg took down Freddie Burns as he reached the Warriors 22, with support from Liebenberg, but then the defenders won turnover ball and Tigers had Cole and Burns to thank as they closed down wing Alex Hearle in the corner.
Play continued until referee Luke Pearce came back for a penalty in a central position and Billy Searle kicked the points.
Warriors had no legal response to a Tigers maul which took play 10 metres upfield from halfway and, when Cole was brought to ground, the referee blew and Burns kicked in off the post to make it 8-3.
Jasper Wiese, picking up at the back of a messy scrum, levered three attempted tackles out of the way as Tigers gained another penalty and this time, they went to the left-hand corner.
The initial platform set up some nice interplay along the backline and, although Tigers were kept out four times almost on the tryline, they kept playing until Burns arrived to score under the posts. He added the extras for a 15-3 lead.
Moments later, Wiese linked with Kelly in attack and Warriors were caught offside just short of the tryline.
The lineout drive ended with a penalty and yellow card for prop Christian Judge, and he was joined by fellow front-rower Niall Annett in the sin bin as play stayed in the corner and the referee awarded a penalty try when the next drive reached the chalk.
Tigers led 22-3 on 32 minutes, but Searle quickly added a penalty for Warriors from the edge of the 22.
Warriors had to call for two temporary front-rowers for the first scrum of the second half before getting back to their full 15 at the end of the sin-bin period, while Tigers sent on Reffell to join the back row in place of Wiese.
A penalty against a Montoya high tackle gave Searle the chance to add the first points of the half, but Warriors were then pegged back as they collapsed a maul in their own 22. Referee Pearce spoke to skipper Ted Hill after another penalty near the line, and when Tigers set up the drive again, Liebenberg reached over the line for the bonus-point score.
Burns, kicking into the wind, added the conversion from wide on the right as Tigers led 29-9.
Play remained in the Worcester 22 as Bryce Hegarty picked his way through broken field, and Warriors received a second warning as penalties built up on their defence.
But, despite being pushed back to their own line, they got a breakaway score as wing Alex Hearle picked off a long pass from Burns to run 90 metres for the score. Searle added a conversion to take the score to 29-16.
A break from Nephi Leatigaga on halfway, which ended with Potter diving over tryline, initially brought a fifth score, but the TMO brought the referee’s attention to replays of a forward pass and play restarted with a Warriors scrum.
Two carries from Porter got Tigers moving forward again on the left and some quick set-piece ball had Warriors pushed back, but they then forced a handling error just 10 metres out in front of the posts.
A lineout drive again got Tigers forward but, when it ended with Saumaki diving in on the left, the referee had already signalled an advantage to the visitors and play came back for a defensive penalty.
Tigers did get a fifth try, though, when Porter’s midfield break found Reffell in support and he had the pace to run in on the right. Burns added the kick to make it 36-16 with two minutes left on the clock.
Robinson’s home debut lasted barely 90 seconds as he was yellow-carded in defence and Saumaki immediately followed for a deliberate knock-on with the clock already at zero.
But the 13 remaining men stood up to one last attack and brought the game to an end with a penalty award virtually on their own line.