GET IN: Luis Suarez celebrates a goal at White Hart Lane
LIVERPOOL MOVED six points clear of Tottenham in the race for a top four place following their emphatic 5-0 win in north London (December 15)
Both teams came into the game with decent recent form, the Reds losing one in their last five games, with Tottenham unbeaten in five matches.
The home side, criticised in recent weeks for their lack of goals, never really looked positive from the outset and their poor start was compounded by a Luis Suarez goal on the 18th minute.
With Steven Gerrard missing through injury, responsibility fell on the shoulders of Jordan Henderson, who at 23-years old, found himself amongst one of the more senior players in a red shirt.
And it was his timely run into the box that provided the bit of luck which led to Liverpool’s first goal courtesy of captain for the day, Suarez.
Evading a last ditch challenge by Kyle Walker, skipping past him with delightfully quick feet, Suarez scored his 15th goal of the season.
Just before the half hour mark Glen Johnson saw an effort sail just over the bar following some positive work in the Spurs last third.
It simply wasn't going the home side's way when Sandro was forced to withdraw halfway through the first half with what looked like a tweak of the hamstring. The Brazilian has been unlucky with injury over the last year and the Spurs faithful will be hoping he makes a speedy recovery.
Roberto Soldado had the best effort for Spurs with just fifteen minutes of the first half to go. The diminutive forward rose above everybody else following a corner only to see his attempt go over the bar. It was a free header and he should really have done better.
Suarez could have had two goals in the first period but lacked his usual cutting edge when presented with a gilt-edged opportunity to round Hugo Lloris having been put through by Coutinho. Suarez, almost too casual in his endeavour, didn't get any purchase on his eventual shot and immediately put his head in his hands when the extent of his miss began to sink in.
Five minutes before the half-time whistle however, Henderson made it two-nil finishing neatly in the bottom corner after Lloris saved a Suarez effort on the edge of his box.
The rampant Henderson celebrated wildly and the Reds looked good for a win even at that early stage of the game. Spurs, for all of their possession, didn't seem to have a cutting edge up front.
It was more of the same for Liverpool in the second half, a nice flighted cross by Raheem Sterling found the head of Mamadou Sakho who hit the post.
While Soldado had seen a couple of half chances go over the bar it was a sad indictment on Andre Villas-Boas's side that they were yet to force Simon Mignolet into a genuine save.
An arduous afternoon for the hosts was made worse by the sending off of Paulinho in the 63rd minute. The defensive midfielder kicked Suarez in the chest and received his marching orders by the referee, Jon Moss, without any hesitation.
By now Spurs, who had replaced Moussa Dembele with Andros Townsend on the hour mark, looked devoid of the spirit necessary to claw their way back into the game.
With 15 minutes to go Suarez whipped a ball into the Spurs box which found John Flannagan in acres of space. The defende'rs top corner finish didn't disappoint giving his side a three-nil lead.
You couldn't blame some of the White Hart Lane faithful for leaving early, in truth it had been another abject display against one of the better teams in the league at home.
There was talk of Tottenham being title contenders this season but this result leaves that prospect a little less likely to materialise. All is not lost for the north London side but they will have to regroup and reassess if they are to finish in the top four, which after their summer spending, has to be the target.
Brendan Rodgers will rightly take positives away from the game, his decision to make Suarez captain paid dividends and the fourth goal by the Uruguay forward was a majestic, picture perfect way to repay the manager for the faith he has shown in him.
Sterling's fifth goal was merely the icing on a sumptuous cake for Liverpool. Can they win the title?
Rodgers wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not they are contenders, the former Swansea boss is happy to have produced a performance that will have the rest of the league sit up and take note, especially with the absence of Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.