Skipper Suarez scores twice as Liverpool crush Spurs
Luis Suarez extended his hot scoring run with a double as Liverpool overwhelmed 10-man Tottenham 5-0 on Sunday to go within two points of the 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 ... it was probably our most complete performance,” Liverpool manger Brendan Rodgers said.
"The players worked tirelessly. The level of football was superb. We got five goals and arguably we could have had seven or eight. That’s the beauty of this team, it has goals in it.
"We spoke before the game that we were missing outstanding players in Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge, but I said winning teams support each other. We’ve shown it’s the team that is most important for us."
Assuming the armband from the injured 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 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. Spurs have scored only 15 times in 15 league games and couldn’t even muster a shot on target against the second-place visitors.
That despite more than $160 million being spent on the squad in the summer transfer window after Spurs sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
“We have the squad, we have the ability, we believe in each other, but the results aren’t there in the Premier League to prove it,” manager Andre Villas-Boas said, highlighting the need to instill more confidence in his players.
Such an outlook puts further scrutiny on the 36-year-old manager’s future.
“I won’t resign,” he said. “And I’m not a quitter.”
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 minute 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 their 6-0 loss at Manchester City last month and left Spurs in seventh place, five points from the fourth Champions League place.
A force once again this season, Liverpool showed they 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.
Lloris was kept busy in the opening exchanges and he was beaten after 17 minutes.
Michael Dawson blocked a through ball from Suarez, but Henderson recovered possession and fed the Uruguay striker to nip in and almost walk the ball into the net.
The pressure was sustained, with Philippe Coutinho blasting the ball off the crossbar from a Suarez cut back.
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 equalising.
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.
Suarez’s deserved second goal came when he chipped Lloris after being released by Luis Alberto six minutes from time. “I am a striker so I try to score, but most important was the performance of the team,” Suarez said.