Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson put on a Batman-and-Robin-type display as the Uruguayan starred and his understudy supported well in a Liverpool thrashing of the Spurs back line for a 2-0 win.
Suarez opened the scoring after hard work by Henderson, and it was exactly the opposite for the second which assured victory against a broken Spurs defense giving way too much space to the Reds playmakers.
Both teams showed an attacking edge early, with each side trying to work the ball wide. Tottenham especially made a point of targeting their right flank, with runs by Mousa Dembele and Paulinho from the midfield tracking towards the touchline.
It was a struggle though for Spurs to find anything of quality, with Liverpool pressing high up the pitch and challenging every Spurs pass.
Liverpool took the first 15 minutes to find their footing, but they began to push in to the Spurs box, with Lloris forced into stopping a cross from Raheem Sterling.
It didn’t take much longer though for Liverpool to open the books on the scoring, 18 minutes to be exact, who else but Luis Suarez with his 16th goal of the season.
Suarez initially sent a low ball into the box for Jordan Henderson, but it was cut out by Michael Dawson. Henderson worked well to get back on the ball, and he found a trailing Suarez.
The Uruguayan dribbled around the one defender left in front of him, and slid the ball by Hugo Lloris to put Liverpool ahead.
Tottenham continued to work possession into the Liverpool third, but they had trouble finding anything to pester Simon Mignolet, finishing without a single shot on target. Liverpool worked a bit on the counter, and it forced Michael Dawson into an early yellow card challenge.
The latter stages of the second half provided some fireworks, but no goals to show for it. The Reds continued forward, and a quick spell Phillippe Coutinho hit the bar with a bouncing shot, and then the rebound came well out to Glen Johnson who nearly ripped a stunner past Lloris but it went millimeters over.
Tottenham came close in the 30th minute as Nacer Chadli latched onto a corner but his header went just over the bar.
Suarez had a golden opportunity to double the lead just after when a long ball from deep in the visitors defense caught the Tottenham back four sleeping, and Suarez got the ball by Lloris who came out of his own box. Suarez took a bit long to settle though, and it allowed the defenders to recover and get in the way of his attempts.
Andre Villas-Boas saw how his team needed to find more space and were struggling to deal with the pressing Reds midfield, so he swapped Sandro for Louis Holtby. The substitute got in on the action early, getting a ball from Roberto Soldado on the end line but dragged a shot wide.
Liverpool did cash in on another opportunity before halftime, with Tottenham’s defense again proving nothing better than frantic. A ball from the wing found Coutinho, and he picked out Henderson for an open shot. Lloris saved, and the ball fell to Suarez who took aim and fired, with Lloris saving again with a jump.
The third attempt would be the charm, as it fell to Henderson and with the goalkeeper on the ground it was an easy finish into the bottom corner for a 2-0 lead.
A heavy touch from Mignolet as the half came to a close nearly gifted a chance to Soldado, but as the two vied for the ball Soldado shoved the Liverpool ‘keeper, and as he slid the ball into the empty net referee Jon Moss pulled it back for the foul.
The second half brought more chances, and also driving rain. Soldado got things started, blazing just over on 47 minutes. Liverpool defenders also wanted in, as Mamadou Sakho hit the Spurs crossbar with a header and Martin Skrtel’s rebound attempt went well over.
Spurs frustrating began to show with their lack of creativity, and it ended up hurting them in a big way. Luis Suarez got a ball near the mid line that outran him, and Paulinho’s attempt to get a foot on the ball got his studs way too high, catching Suarez square in the chest with a flying kick.
It was a terribly errant boot by Paulinho, and Jon Moss showed him a straight red for the effort. Suarez went down injured on the play, as the boot got him not only the chest but his right hand as well, it appeared.
Tottenham were no match for the sparkling Liverpool attack once they handed the visitors a man advantage.
It would be 3-0 after long, with a talismanic goal for a young Liverpool native.
A long ball found Jordan Henderson on the wing, who picked out Suarez on the edge of the box. The Uruguayan saw Flanagan all alone on the far side of the box, and his cross was perfect for 20-year-old Jon Flanagan to volley home.
Luis Suarez would add his second of the match in the 84th minute, making it 4-0 and Raheem Sterling added a fifth in the dying minutes of regulation.
The win pushes Liverpool up to second in the Premier League table, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference and just two points behind Arsenal for the lead.
Spurs, with the five goals allowed, have conceded 15 goals now in their last five matches, and remain seventh position.
Liverpool – Suarez 18′, 84′; Henderson 40′; Flanagan 75′, Sterling 88′
Tottenham – Paulinho 63′
Tottenham Hotspur – Lloris; Walker, Capoue, Dawson, Naughton (Fryers 45′); Paulinho, Sandro (Holtby 30′); Lennon, Dembele (Townsend 61′), Chadli; Soldado.
Liverpool – Mignolet; Flanagan, Sakho, Skrtel, Johnson; Allen, Lucas (Luis Alberto 79′), Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho; Suarez.