Liverpool dominated Tottenham for 90 minutes, embarrassing Tim Sherwood's discombobulated side. After Younes Kaboul's 2nd minute own goal, the game was all about how many Liverpool could put past Hugo Lloris. The answer was four, but on another day the Reds could have had six or seven with the level of superiority they displayed. Once again, Liverpool made supporters look silly for their pre-game worries, but that won't stop us from biting our nails all week over West Ham.
Kudos to Rodgers for pretty much everything today. He's really blossoming as a manager, and his intelligence made Sherwood look foolish, although that doesn't seem all that difficult to do. Despite the recent success of the diamond, Rodgers switched to the 4-3-3 knowing that he could exploit Spurs in the same way that he did back in December. It was a masterstroke, as Liverpool denied Tottenham's wide play while constantly threatening their high line. I appreciate that Rodgers understands the strength of the diamond but is still willing to switch out for a different setup for certain match ups. Meanwhile, Tottenham keep trotting out the same useless tactics and it's killing them.
No matter the formation, Rodgers asks his players to relentlessly pressure opponents. Today, Liverpool's pressing was so good that Tottenham could barely escape their own half, and much of the credit for this goes to Coutinho, Henderson, and Sterling. Liverpool were not immune to losing possession themselves, but each time Tottenham intercepted a pass Liverpool moved into prime position to take the ball right back.
Spurs fans have bemoaned individual mistakes all year, so they must have been livid with the first two goals their team conceded. Kaboul's own goal headlined a putrid display, as he finished off a beautifully worked Liverpool move that sent Glen Johnson down the right wing. Then, only minutes after entering the match, Michael Dawson passed it to Luis Suarez who wriggled like a snake past Kaboul and hit an incredibly placed left-footed drive past Lloris to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead.
The Reds continued to press for more goals as a rambunctious Anfield crowd willed them on. Henderson missed a golden chance to make it three for the home side when he airmailed a Lloris vacated goal, but not long after, Coutinho smashed a low shot from just outside the box past the diving French keeper. In the 75th minute Henderson redeemed his earlier miss, capping the scoring at 4-0 with a free kick that inexplicably evaded everyone en route to the net.
The 4-0 win over Spurs felt merely solid, showing how spoiled we are by such a breathtaking team. With an early goal, we got to relax rather than feel the immense stress that this title race is causing. More of this please.
Where to start with the individual performances? Nearly everyone in Red was sensational. Suarez scored a great goal and hit the evil post with a header, rebounding nicely from the Sunderland match. Perhaps Sturridge could have played better, but his runs were still good and he was close to scoring a couple times himself. Sterling has a case for man of the match, devastating Tottenham in the same way that he butchered them in the reverse fixture. The entire midfield shined bright like a…4-3-3 midfield. As mentioned before, the pressing was fantastic and Coutinho and Hendo both scored. Quietly, Steven Gerrard played well as the holding midfielder, pinging some precise long balls and picking up the scraps when needed. Defensively, Liverpool were outstanding. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel looked completely in control while Jon Flanagan and Johnson contributed to both the attack and defense. Skrtel even played an outside the boot through ball at one point! Rodgers has the entire team working cohesively, and this was one of the more complete victories of the season.
|Shots (On Target)
-Roberto Soldado looks like he's trying to make runs that are so bad that there's no way he'll get passed to, which is good because he's not exactly sure what to do if he does get the ball.
-Credit to Rodgers for the substitutions he made. Allen deserved to see some time, and the Lucas switch made sense since Gerrard had to avoid picking up another yellow. The Moses sub was amusing.
-I expressed some concerns in the Game Thread about Sakho not seeing any time and perhaps getting unsettled, but there's not much that can be done regarding that considering the form of Agger and Skrtel.
Game Thread Roll Call Top Ten
This was another huge win for Liverpool, especially considering the other results this weekend. Tottenham need to get their act together soon because they're more talented than they're currently showing, and a good deal of the blame for that has to fall on Sherwood. I don't think they're a top four caliber team right now, but under a decent manager they should at the very least be avoiding these kinds of demoralizing blowouts.