Luis Suarez runs hot in Tottenham thrashing
Luis Suarez extended his hot scoring run with a double on Sunday (NZT Monday) as Liverpool overwhelmed 10-man Tottenham 5-0 to go within two points of the English Premier League summit.
On the day he captained Liverpool for the first time, Suarez took his tally to eight goals in three games and helped to set up the other three goals by Jordan Henderson, Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling.
It was a scintillating way for Liverpool to end a five-game losing streak at White Hart Lane and win away for the first time since September 29 at Sunderland.
''We were like animals,'' Liverpool manger Brendan Rodgers said.
Assuming the armband from the injured Steven Gerrard indicated that Suarez has fully completed his rehabilitation from bans for racist abuse and biting, and antagonising fans by pushing for a transfer during the summer.
Suarez may well be relieved that Liverpool wouldn't sanction the move to Arsenal, with the London club now only a place and two points ahead at the top of the standings after losing 6-3 at Manchester City on Saturday.
Suarez has 17 goals in a season that only began in late September as he completed the 10-game biting ban.
Such potency in just 11 games contrasts with Tottenham's ineptitude in front of goal. Tottenham has scored only 15 times in 15 league games and couldn't even muster a shot on target against the second-place visitors.
As Tottenham struggled to cope with the speed and intensity of Liverpool's attack, Suarez took just 17 minutes to open the scoring.
Henderson volleyed in another before halftime, following up after Suarez was denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Any hopes of a Tottenham comeback were thwarted by Paulinho being sent off in the 63rd for sinking his boot into Suarez's ribs.
Suarez then set up Flanagan for Liverpool's third, found the net again himself in the 84th, and fed the ball for Sterling to complete the rout five minutes later.
Tottenham's collapse brought back memories of its 6-0 loss at Manchester City last month and left Spurs in seventh place, seven points from the fourth Champions League place.
A force once again this season, Liverpool showed it can cope without the injured Gerrard and striker Daniel Sturridge.
The intensity and speed from Liverpool had Tottenham reeling from the start as the hosts struggled to cope with Sterling, Henderson and Suarez particularly.
After goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was kept busy in the opening exchanges, he was beaten after 18 minutes.
Michael Dawson blocked a throughball from Suarez, but Henderson recovered possession and fed the Uruguay striker to nip in and almost walk the ball into the goal.
The pressure was sustained, with Philippe Coutinho blasting the ball off the crossbar from Suarez's cutback.
There was another blow for Tottenham when Sandro was forced off injured and replaced by Lewis Holtby on the half hour.
A header that Nacer Chadli sent over from a corner and Holtby sweeping the ball wide was about as close as Tottenham came to equalizing.
Liverpool ripped through Tottenham and chalked up another goal despite Lloris' double save.
Lloris denied Henderson, then thwarted Suarez from the rebound. But he palmed the ball back for Henderson to volley in the second.
Roberto Soldado did find the net for Tottenham just before halftime but it was disallowed for an apparent foul by the striker on goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Tottenham never came as close again.
And at the start of the second half, Liverpool was only denied a third by the woodwork as Mamadou Sakho headed Sterling's cross against the post.
When the third did come, after Paulinho's dismissal, the slick break down the right flank exemplified the visitors' effervescence in the heavy rain.
Henderson backheeled to Suarez, who crossed for Flanagan to curl the ball beyond Lloris in the 75th.
Suarez's deserved second came when he chipped Lloris after being released by Luis Alberto. Then, Suarez turned provider once again, slipping the ball through for Sterling to slot into the net in the 89th.
''I am a striker so I try to score, but most important was the performance of the team,'' Suarez said.