TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 LIVERPOOL 3
AT WHITE HART LANE
LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers believes his side’s performance in the mauling of Tottenham yesterday proved the Reds can mount a title charge despite the close season loss of mercurial talisman Luis Suarez.
The visitors served notice of their intentions with an early Raheem Sterling goal before Steven Gerrard’s penalty – his 43rd successful spot-kick for Liverpool – and an individual strike from Alberto Moreno secured a resounding win.
Liverpool have now scored 12 goals in three games without reply against the north Londoners, and Rodgers insisted the latest victory over Tottenham stoked memories of the club’s blistering form of last term.
“We have risen to every challenge since I’ve been at the club and the beauty of this group is they are very hungry,” said Rodgers.
“We lost to Manchester City and then came to a team that had started well and I think we showed we are a very good side and probably clicked back into where we were last year and that was great to see.”
Rodgers gave a debut to maverick forward Mario Balotelli and the Italian almost started his Anfield career with a bang as his powerful third-minute header from a Daniel Sturridge cross was repelled by France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Five minutes later Liverpool had the lead when Sturridge fed Jordan Henderson on the right of the Tottenham penalty area and his ball across the six-yard box was stabbed home at the far post by Sterling.
Balotelli’s second chance came after half an hour when a poor Lloris clearance fell to the marksman 40 yards out, only for the former Manchester City striker to slash horribly wide of an unguarded net.
Liverpool doubled their lead four minutes after the re-start when referee Phil Dowd judged England Under-21 defender Eric Dier to have tugged the shirt of Joe Allen, and Gerrard stroked the ball past Lloris.
The visitors sealed the win after an hour to move level with Spurs on six points from three games as Spanish full-back Moreno, a £12m capture from Sevilla, finished a rampaging run down the left with a low bullet finish across Lloris.
Defeat dismantled Tottenham’s perfect record in all competitions this season but manager Mauricio Pochettino accepted defeats against the league’s leading lights may be a by-product of his team’s evolution.
“Maybe the team felt some pressure from last season after two defeats against Liverpool but we are still improving and learning,” said Pochettino. “Liverpool competed for the title last year and have built a team for more than two years.”