Luis Suarez was the creator and provider in his first Barclays Premier League game as Liverpool captain, leading the side to a resounding 5-0 victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
The 26-year-old was handed the armband for the second time in his Reds career as Steven Gerrard was missing through injury.
He was on the score-sheet twice, and superbly created the other three goals, which were claimed by Jordan Henderson, Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling.
There was just one change to the starting lineup, with Lucas Leiva returning to the team in the place of Gerrard.
The Reds were presented with a chance in the first minute, as the brilliant Suarez played in Philippe Coutinho, but the midfielder wasn’t expecting the ball, and snatched at his shot.
The trend continued in the opening stanza, with Liverpool asking Spurs all kinds of questions in and around their box. Sterling was the creator-in-chief, pacey going forward and getting the better of Kyle Naughton. In the 16th minute, he skipped down the right channel and put pressure on Hugi Lloris‘ near post. In the next move, the winger got behind Spurs’ defense again, but the French keeper averted the danger.
Suarez had seen an earlier effort go marginally wide, but there was no such repeat when Henderson slipped him in after 18 minutes. It was a breathtaking passage of play from Liverpool. Sterling fed Suarez, who in turn sent the ball in Henderson’s direction. The skipper on the afternoon outpaced and out-thought several Spurs defenders to run onto Hendo’s neat pass, before coolly side-footing past Lloris.
Three minutes later, the gloveman came out on top as he thwarted Suarez in a one-on-one situation. The Uruguayan was involved again as Liverpool continued to pour forward. He twisted his way in from the left wing and pulled the ball back for Coutinho, who’s volley hit the ground, bounced up and cannoned off the crossbar.
There was a rare chance for Spurs, but Nacer Chadli failed to direct his free header on target.
Suarez was again the center of attention, as Lloris failed to deal with a high ball, inviting the No. 7 to shoot at an open goal. But as he gathered the ball and adjusted his positioning, the home defenders and Lloris had recovered in time to deny him.
Sterling was back in the attacking mix again, beating his marker and launching a shot which was blocked. He followed that up with a wonderful cross-field ball, which Gerrard would’ve enjoyed watching, out to Coutinho. The Brazilian’s brilliant touch set up a peach of a pass to Henderson, whose shot Lloris batted away. The home keeper then did well to deny Suarez from the rebound. But he couldn’t do anything to halt a persistent Henderson, who volleyed in to double Liverpool’s cushion.
Roberto Soldado put the ball in the back of the net just before half-time, but it was correctly disallowed as he shoulder-barged into Simon Mignolet to go through on goal.
After the interval, Soldado was again a nuisance. The Spaniard was played in on the right channel, but rushed his shot and hit it wildly over.There was another period of pressure from the visitors. Sakho found the post after sensational wing play from Sterling, before Martin Skrtel smashed the loose ball over from the edge of the box.
Tottenham tried to exert some pressure on Liverpool, but it was short-lived. Paulinho was sent off in the 62nd minute, after a late and high boot on Suarez’s chest.
There was no way back for the hosts following that dismissal, considering the Reds’ dominance in the clash.
Liverpool was rewarded for its constant pressing and probing. Henderson embarked on another fine run from deep and played a clever backheeled nutmeg to Suarez. He directed a cross to the back post, where Flanagan sent a robust volley in off the woodwork.
In the 83rd minute, it was the Suarez show again. The striker showed did his goal tally and the armband proud as he lofted a perfect finish over Lloris to make it 17 for the season.
The Reds were not done yet though. Suarez turned provider and helped Sterling get the reward he deserved as a emphatic 5-0 victory.
Liverpool provided an attacking masterclass, kept a clean sheet and bucked a poor away trend at Spurs. The Reds are now second in the Premier League standings, just two points adrift off leaders Arsenal.