While they continued their unbeaten start to the season, Jurgen Klopp's men did miss out on setting a club record of 10 successive home clean sheets in the league.
Mohamed Salah became the quickest player in Liverpool history to score 50 goals with his midweek Champions League brace and wasted little time in getting back on the goal trail.
Mane and Roberto Firmino each had efforts blocked in a penalty box scramble before the Egyptian swooped to thrash home from eight yards out - his 17th goal in his last 14 Premier League outings at Anfield.
The opening half an hour was completely one-way traffic and the Reds were within inches of doubling their lead on 13 minutes when Virgil van Dijk headed against the post, having peeled off Sol Bamba to meet Salah's cross.
While the hosts ended the first half with 84% possession and had 12 shots on goal, they did not work Neil Etheridge as much as Klopp would have liked as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Firmino both struck wide from the edge of the box.
When the Cardiff goalkeeper was beaten on the stroke of the break, captain Sean Morrison came to his side's rescue with a goalline clearance from Adam Lallana's header, after Alberto Moreno had stood up an inviting cross for the midfielder.
Liverpool may have been expecting to kill the game off shortly after the restart, but the Bluebirds emerged with a more proactive attacking approach and would have drawn level had Morrison not strayed offside from a free-kick routine which ended up in the back of the net.
A second goal on 66 minutes appeased the nerves that were starting to gather around Anfield, with Mane blasting a left-footed shot through Etheridge after showing persistance to win the ball back in the area.
Paterson provided a twist in the tale when he became the first visiting player to score in the Premier League at Anfield since February on 77 minutes. Junior Hoilett's hopeful cross was diverted into the Scotsman's path by Van Dijk, and he poked the ball beyond Alisson Becker from close range.
Liverpool's victory would be in jeopardy for only six minutes as impressive substitute Shaqiri opened his account for the Reds in style, masterfully controlling a pass inside from Salah before wriggling away from a couple of defenders and slotting into the bottom corner.
A ruthless counter-attack moments later then gave the scoreline the authority that Liverpool's superiority warranted, as Salah released Mane with a defence-splitting pass that the Senegalese delicately lifted over Etheridge for his third goal in two matches.
The Reds will stay at the Premier League summit at least until Monday when Manchester City travel to Tottenham Hotspur.
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Moreno; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Lallana (Shaqiri, 61'); Mane, Salah, Firmino (Milner, 71')
CARDIFF (4-4-1-1): Etheridge; Manga, Bamba, Morrison, Bennett; Hoilett, Camarasa; Gunnarsson (Damour, 73'), Murphy (Harris, 74'); Reid (Zohore, 83'); Paterson