Monday, 16 December 2013

Reds smash five past stunned Spurs

That was worth the wait.

With their scarcely believable 5-0 victory at White Hart Lane yesterday Liverpool not only thrashed one of their main rivals for Champions League qualification and ended a streak of six defeats at their bogey ground. They also sent a message out to the rest of the Premier League loud and clear; Brendan Rodgers’ men mean business.

From the first to the final whistle, Liverpool were in the supremacy. After securing a two-goal lead at half time thanks to goals from Suarez and Henderson, the visitors pressed home their advantage in the second period and, when Paulinho deservedly saw red on the hour mark, there was only ever going to be one winner.

Youngsters Flanagan and Sterling added their names to the score sheet; with a second from the Reds’ number seven sandwiched in between to clinch an incredible victory in front of a stunned, and infuriated, White Hart Lane. It was arguably Liverpool’s best performance under the reign of Brendan Rodgers, and good enough to get his Tottenham counterpart Andre-Villas Boas sacked.

Lucas Leiva came in for the injured Steven Gerrard in the only change to the team that fired four past Tottenham’s London neighbours West Ham United at Anfield last weekend. Luis Suarez took over the skipper’s responsibilities, captaining the Reds for the first time in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson filled the number eight’s boots impressively in midfield, putting in the type of virtuoso performance Kenny Dalglish, who was watching on from the stands, paid £16 million for when he was Liverpool manager in the summer of 2011. Covering every blade of grass, the former Sunderland man capped a superb attacking display with his first League goal of the season.

Before then, he was instrumental in the build up to the opening goal 18 minutes in, as Suarez capitalised on his creative work to escape the attention of Tottenham’s disjointed defence and coolly slot the ball past Lloris and into the bottom corner.

With Coutinho and Henderson pulling the strings in the middle and Sterling so effectively beating Naughton on the wing that the 25-year old full back was replaced at half time, Liverpool kept up the pressure and pinned back their opponents for the rest of the first half.

Suarez squandered a good chance when he went one-on-one with Lloris, Coutinho hit the woodwork and Johnson’s strike flew just over the bar as the Reds battered their hosts, whose only response came in the form of a header over the bar from Chadli.

A second goal was an absolute must if the Merseysiders were to make their dominance count and, thankfully, it arrived with five minutes of the first period remaining. Lloris did well to thwart both Henderson and Suarez, but there was nothing the French stopper could do to prevent the former volleying into the back of the net when the rebound fell invitingly to him inside the box.

Suarez gets the goalscoring fun started

Henderson celebrates his first League goal of the campaign

Two minutes before the break, Tottenham almost found a way back into the match. Thanks to a bad back pass from Sakho and poor footwork from Mignolet, Soldado had put the ball in the back of the net to seemingly stem the tide of Red dominance and offer Spurs hope for the second half.

Fortunately, referee Jon Moss penalised the Spaniard for a push on Mignolet, which was arguably harsh on the home side. They could have no qualms with his dismissal of Paulinho fifteen minutes after the restart, however, as the Brazilian followed the example of Everton’s Kevin Mirallas in practicing his karate kicking skills on Suarez. Unlike the Belgian, though, Paulinho was rightly sent to take an early bath.

Ironically, Spurs had been improving up to that point, Soldado unleashing a fierce effort over the bar two minutes into the second half. Paulinho’s straight red card was the final nail in their coffin, though, which removed any lingering doubt regarding the outcome of the contest. It was now simply a question of whether Liverpool would settle for their two-goal lead or push on further to really embarrass their hosts.

Anyone who knows anything about Brendan Rodgers’ footballing philosophy knows that the first answer was never an option. Liverpool were going to kill off Spurs in style.

First, on 74 minutes Henderson’s magnificent back heeled pass found Suarez, who squared the ball across the penalty area to Jon Flanagan. Flanno rifled the ball into the net to score a goal he will never forget and then ran to celebrate in front of the ecstatic travelling Kop.

Then, substitute Luis Alberto’s clever pass put Suarez through on goal and the Uruguayan beautifully lofted the ball over Lloris to net his seventeenth goal of the season. To conclude, Suarez set up Sterling, who calmly scored the goal his performance merited to round off an unbelievable afternoon of world class football from Liverpool.

Flanagan won't forget that one anytime soon

17 goals: can there by any doubt he's currently the best player in the League?

Sterling deserves a pat on the head from Suarez!
Before kick-off, Liverpool’s festive fixture list looked daunting. In contrast, at the end of 90 minutes of scintillating stuff from the Reds, they can now enter into matches at the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge with renewed confidence and assurance in their ability.

If they can stick five past Spurs without reply at White Hart Lane, they can do anything!


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