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Tottenham 0, Liverpool 5: First Thoughts

A scintillating first half and an even better second means Liverpool emphatically shakes the White Hart Lane monkey off its back and climbs back up 2nd in the Barclay's Premier League.

Paul Gilham

liverpool blog fc sbn

Tottenham 0
Liverpool 5 Suarez 18' 83', Henderson 40', Flanagan 74', Sterling 89'

  • Rotation? No-tation. Just the one change to the starting eleven we all expected, with Lucas coming in for the injured Steven. The most notable talking point pre-kickoff was that Brendan Rodgers handed Luis Suarez the armband for the first time in the Premier League. In fact, it was the first time since May 2012 that someone other than Gerrard or Jamie Carragher led the team out for a PL match. Suarez as captain means new contract and he stays forever, right? RIGHT? In any case, the pre-match talk was all about how big a match this is for both sides, as Liverpool/Tottenham really is the type of team you need to beat if you want to compete at the top of the table rabble rabble. How did it work out (HINT: if both teams think they should be beating the other team, it usually doesn't end well for one of them)?

  • After an even opening few minutes, Liverpool launched into a scintillating half of nearly constant dominating play all over the park. Liverpool produced its best half of the season on the back of terrific performances by Raheem Sterling and the midfield. Sterling, especially, absolutely petrified Kyle Naughton down the right hand flank, and the midfield trio of Joe Allen, Lucas, and Jordan Henderson comfortably won the midfield battle versus Tottenham's strong-boys. A sustained period of pressure led to Liverpool's breakthrough. A deflected pass was picked up by Henderson and flicked to Suarez, who jinked past a sliding Dawson and finished oh, so coolly around Lloris for his 16th of the year.

  • It started to feel like Liverpool would need a second to really grab control of the game, especially with Sandro's first half injury bringing Lewis Holtby, and thus the promise of more fluidity from Spurs, into the game. But Liverpool continued to control the match, with only a few notable Spurs chances to speak of. The pressing, energy, and enthusiasm was all there from Rodgers' midfield, and a nothing throw-in on the right side of our own half quickly became a chance, as Sterling launched a 40 yard pass to Coutinho who slotted Henderson beautifully onto goal. Henderson didn't finish it at first, but he got the third one to go, as Liverpool took a deserved 2-0 lead into halftime. A few big chances spurned otherwise it could have been 3 or 4 at the half.

  • Liverpool's strong play continued into the beginning of the second half. Great pressure was converted into chances, with Sterling again the sparkplug, setting Sakho up for a big chance but his 1 yard header was clanged off the upright. From there, though, Tottenham grew into the match and started creating chances. Some nervy moments between minutes 55 and 63 saw Spurs threaten Simon Mignolet in goal, but then Paulinho decided to Nigel de Jong Luis Suarez and earned a straight red. Pretty silly from Paulinho, and that, combined with Villas Boas' substitutions, meant that Liverpool could severely outnumber Spurs in the middle so long as they managed to stay composed.

  • And stay composed and choke out the game they did. More chances came for Suarez, Coutinho, and, unusually, Jon Flanagan (!!!) who finished like a seasoned pro on the half volley off a Suarez assist for his first ever senior goal for Liverpool. In such a wonderful moment for the young scouser, it would have been hard not to break into a smile. Thenceforth it became a wave of attack after attack for Liverpool, and it was just a matter of how many more they would get. Suarez scored his 17th of the season with a delicate flick over Lloris before setting up Sterling for the second straight week. Two goals and two assists for Suarez away to Spurs on what many here considered to be an off day means we might have to rethink our 'best player in the world' conversations. Hard to give the MOTM to anyone else, but Henderson and Sterling will fight you for it.

  • Absolutely fantastic result and performance for Liverpool. Awkward conversations about what happens when Gerrard returns will be saved for another day. For now, let's enjoy it.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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