Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge scored a fine header for England in a simple 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley Stadium as teammate Jordan Henderson shone from central midfield.
Henderson took up a role in a midfield two, while Sturridge led the line flanked by Theo Walcott and Jesse Lingard of Arsenal and Manchester United.
Having earlier missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring, firing a rebound over the crossbar from point-blank range, Sturridge broke the deadlock after 29 minutes in the national stadium.
Reds teammate Henderson supplied an excellent cross for the striker, who managed to guide a fine header into the far bottom corner, his seventh goal for his country, to make it 1-0.
Tottenham Hotspur's Dele Alli soon doubled the lead after yet more good work from Henderson, who shared a neat one-two with the midfielder, whose initial shot was saved by Andrew Hogg before he pounced onto the rebound.
Reds duo both play their parts in routine win
A low-key second-half saw the Three Lions fail to add to their lead, wasting a number of good chances to do so, before Sturridge was replaced by Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy on 73 minutes.
Henderson was later named Vauxhall Man of the Match for his performance alongside Wayne Rooney in the centre, the 26-year-old unfortunate not to come away with more assists after delivering several dangerous crosses in the first-half in particular.
The victory lifted England, led by interim manager Gareth Southgate, back to top spot in their group - above rivals Scotland who play Lithuania later on Saturday night.
Henderson and Sturridge will also hope to be involved in the second of Southgate's four games in temporary charge when they travel to face Slovenia for a potentially tricky tie in Ljubljana on Tuesday night.
Sadio Mane is the only other Liverpool player in action elsewhere on Saturday as Senegal face Cape Verde at home in an African qualifier for the World Cup, his only fixture over the two-week break.