Liverpool returned to top spot in the Premiership in style yesterday with a convincing win over a distinctly unconvincing Tottenham side at Anfield. From the first whistle to the last, the home side was in total control of the fixture and brushed the visitors aside with some mesmerising football. Goals from Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson added to an opening own goal from Younes Kaboul were too much for Tim Sherwood’s side to cope with.
The Merseysiders took the lead after only two minutes when Man of the Match Raheem Sterling attacked the Tottenham left side and slid a simple pass to Glen Johnson who’s overlapping run went initially unnoticed by the visiting defence. Daniel Sturridge was waiting for the inevitable centre in front of goal but needn’t have bothered as Kaboul helped the ball into the net with the kind of back-heel John Barnes would have been proud of. One would have expected the vengeance-minded to have sought immediate retribution but alas, nothing.
On 25 minutes the second goal came. An awful back pass from Michael Dawson with his first touch of the ball after coming on for the injured Jan Vertonghen was pounced on by live wire Suarez whose strength and pace as he ran toward goal signaled the inevitable before he duly slid the ball across a helpless Hugo Lloris to notch up his 29th goal of the season.
The second half started in much the same manner as the first in so far as the visitors showing a complete inability to handle the attacking flair of the hosts. Time after time, Liverpool passed around the Tottenham side as if they simply weren’t there. On 55 minutes a rare offensive forray into the Liverpool area was cleared left to Jon Flanaghan who sold the most audacious dummy to his assailant and passed to Coutinho completely free in the middle of the pitch. Unchallenged, he headed toward the opposing penalty area and unleashed a text-book drive low into the left corner of the goal and past the outstretched arm of Lloris.
This, to all intents and purposes was game over. There was no sign of the heroics from last week that saw Spurs come back from 2-0 down to win and it was clear in their body language that there wasn’t going to be anytime soon. At least not today. The mauling was complete on 75 minutes when Jirdan Henderson’s free kick from the left bypassed a packed penalty area and into the net. There was a spell of pressure from the visitors for the last 10 minutes but this was in vain. The Liverpool defence stood firm although in all honesty is wasn’t exactly an onslaught that Tottenham subjected their hosts to. Merely, it seemed, to demonstrate that they hadn’t turned up just to stand still.
Considering Tottenham, in the build up to the match, used the word “revenge”, to describe their imminent mission, they didn’t seem to be a unit with revenge a forethought. To say they were outclassed would be an understatement. Full credit must go Brendan Rodgers for sending the side out with an aggressive and brutal approach to this game. On the other hand, one has to wonder what happened to their opponents. At times it was almost embarrassing to watch. There was a total lack of desire from the North Londoners. Tim Sherwood has really got his work cut out with this lot.
Liverpool now sit three points clear atop the Premiership and they actually look good value for it on recent performances. The next game away at West Ham won’t by any means, be an easy one at their notoriously difficult venue. The Reds have the momentum now and on this showing, it will take one hell of a performance from West Ham to put a dent in that. However Sam Alladyce being the wily technician that he is will not make it an easy ride for their visitors and I’ve no doubt it’ll be a sterner test than yesterday.
There is a real sense of purpose in this Liverpool side now and it’s easy to see why the fans are singing “We’re gonna win the league…”. Yesterday, they played without any inhibitions and yes, for the first time in the last two or three games, as if they were enjoying themselves. I have to say, this is the best football I’ve seen the team play for 25 years and on this form, I’m finally beginning to accept this song being sung. Next stop, Upton Park.
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