It had a feel of a must win match for Liverpool; one that would put them firmly in the driver's seat of their season with large games and a large fixture list looming. Failing to win this one wouldn't have been disastrous, but it would have been a massive setback. Luckily, we don't need to examine what might have been as Liverpool put on a masterclass and showed the league their intent.
Even with the injuries, the Reds piled on the pressure and looked a cohesive unit for the vast majority of the first half. They pinned Spurs deep and won the ball back numerous times before it even got close to the back four. It started early sa Suarez pounced on a ball at the edge of the 18 and passed (debatable whether it was a pass or missed shot) the ball square to Coutinho who scuffed his shot. From there Spurs pushed back a bit, but it was short lived as Liverpool took hold of the game and the midfield.
After relentless pressure, Henderson managed to slide a poor clearance to Suarez who made no mistake finishing. Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure as the half went on and the second came from Henderson, a well deserved first of the year. After a beautiful layoff to Henderson from Coutinho, Henderson shot hard and Lloris was forced to make two fantastic stops of Henderson, then the rebound that fell to Suarez, before Henderson lashed it home. Liverpool went into halftime 2-0 up, but it easily could have been 4....as Suarez was nearly gifted a ball from an errant header by Lloris at the edge of his box.
The second half started a bit more nervy as Spurs came out and had a decent 10-15 minutes of possession after the break. The turning point was a challenge that even Nigel DeJong would have said was dumb. Paulinho inexplicably left his foot in high, then sort of bent it backwards to ensure he made contact with Suarez's chest. The referee was spot on, and ballsy, in handing out the straight red. From there, Liverpool just turned the screw creating loads of chances until John Flanagan got his just rewards, a difficult to take volley off the underside of the bar and into the net. Liverpool didn't stop as Suarez got another and Sterling, who had been electric all game, got one as well.
It was a complete match from start to stop. At least two of those goals were from pure hustle and tenacity, never giving up on the play. Without Sturridge and Gerrard, these two attributes will be needed every week to propel them through the tough fixture list ahead. Enjoy the ride and tuck your replica tops into your undies, because we have Cardiff next.
-Suarez is just absolutely brilliant. Although, I'm not quite sure why or how he didn't take the gift Lloris offered him early.
-The front five of Henderson, Allen, Sterling Suarez and Coutinho were incredible. The just seemed to win back every ball Spurs tried to play out of the back. Their tenacity is what dictated the match and resulted in a couple of the goals.
-Raheem looks like he has his confidence back. He played like the Sterling of yore and ran his defender ragged all match.
-Skrtel is a liability in the back. While he was solid overall, his penchant for fouling is a massive liability back there.
-Lucas really looked like a scared player. He overran a number of challenges and put himself in poor positions to dictate the midfield play far too often, especially in the first half. I know he is probably scared of messing up his knee again, but he is going to have to at least stay between the ball and the goal.
-AVB out? I'd bet he isn't there too much longer, but at the same time you could argue he is still within striking distance of the top 4. It is a tight table.
-AVB's probably gonna get the chop... The league is your bread and butter, and while they're doing well in Europe, the League is most important. (JAceKopite)
-Our midfield was brilliant. Even Lucas. (JAceKopite)
-Before the match, I was critical of playing Lucas & Allen together, and Flanagan in the back, because he's small... But boy, did he prove me wrong. My Man Of The Match, even though there's 2 or 3 who could take that award. (JAce)