Final, 4-0 Liverpool: It’s over. Liverpool wins its eighth-straight Premier League game and moves into first place in the standings.
From start to finish, Liverpool was every bit as good as the scoreline suggests. Tottenham also was as bad as the goal difference says it was.
Kaboul’s early own goal was a precursor of what was to come, as the Reds seemed to punish Spurs’ every mistake. Fail to press? Goal. Errant pass? Goal. Press too high? Goal. Fail to clear a free kick? Goal. The ruthless Reds simply dispatched their discouraged opponents with ease. If the Reds’ title chase is causing anxiety, they didn’t show it at Anfield on Sunday.
The result effectively ends Tottenham’s hopes for qualifying for next season’s Champions League, as they trail Arsenal by eight points with six games remaining.
Meanwhile, Liverpool moves to the top of the league with the victory, overtaking Chelsea. The Reds’ perfect month of March sets up a mammoth April in which they will host Manchester City (on April 13) and Chelsea (April 27). But they must first travel to Upton Park for next weekend’s visit to West Ham.
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93rd minute, 4-0 Liverpool: Lucas deflects Eriksen’s shot, forcing Mignolet to make a diving save.
90th minute, 4-0 Liverpool: Soldado is stretchered off after taking another hard foul.
82nd minute, 4-0 Liverpool: Moses comes on for Sterling.
82nd minute, 4-0 Liverpool: Sigurdsson hits a sidewinder on target, but it goes right to Mignolet.
81st minute, 4-0 Liverpool: Flanagan crunches Soldado with a hard, but fair, challenge in the penalty area.
The Tottenham striker receives treatment and is able to continue playing.
75th minute, 4-0 Liverpool: Henderson scores with a free kick, although he might not have meant to do it.
The Liverpool midfielder hit it low and hard into a mass of bodies that were running into the goal-mouth. It bounced through Suarez’s legs and went straight into the goal.
Suarez made it known that he didn’t touch it.
PHOTO: It was your goal, Jordan! http://t.co/fnNiizsl07—
Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 30, 2014
Henderson has now scored four league goals this season.
70th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Gerrard comes off after 70 minutes. Lucas replaces the Liverpool captain.
68th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Sturridge nearly scores with a clever back-heel flick, but Lloris gets his body in front of it and makes the save.
Liverpool capitalized on another error by the Tottenham defense.
66th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Suarez is limping.
He hit Lloris in the head with his shin while chasing a ball into the area, but it looks like both players will continue.
63rd minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Allen is coming on for Coutinho, as Rodgers makes his first change in personnel.
60th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Tottenham makes its final two substitutions, sending Townsend and Dembele on for Lennon and Bentaleb.
55th minute, 3-0 Liverpool: Coutinho gives Liverpool a three-goal lead with a low shot from 25 yards out.
Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 30, 2014
Flanagan beat Lennon with a dribble before passing to Coutinho near the halfway line. The Brazilian then sprinted forward, took a look at the goal and shot. It appeared to take a deflection off Kaboul but still had enough power to beat the diving Lloris.
54th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Henderson shoots over the bar from 12 yards out after Liverpool cut open Tottenham’s defense.
46th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Sigurdsson fouls Coutinho, the referee shows him a yellow card.
46th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: The second half begins. Liverpool is attacking the Kop end.
Halftime, 2-0 Liverpool: The first half has come to a close with the Reds up by two.
Liverpool cruised through most of the first 45 minutes and reaped the rewards for its confident and focused approach. The two-goal lead reflects the Reds’ total domination of the first half.
Tottenham has been Liverpool’s polar opposite, as the visitors delivered a sullen and disjointed performance so far. Kaboul’s own goal came just two minutes into the contest, and things got progressively worse. Vertonghen, Spurs’ defensive leader, limped off the field, and his replacement, Dawson, made the pass which led to Suarez’s goal with his first touch of the game.
Liverpool is creating danger all over the field and will likely continue to do so. Tottenham will push more players into attacking areas, which will open up space for the Reds to exploit in defense.
Liverpool is 45 minutes away from moving into first place in the Premier League standings.
41st minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Lloris saves Suarez’s header off the post. It bounces on the goal line, but the goal decision system says “no goal.”
Sterling disposed Kaboul out wide, dribbled to the by-line and crossed to Suarez, who was six yards away from goal. Suarez’s header was powerful and on target, but the Tottenham goalkeeper palmed it away.
40th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Spurs are starting to show signs of life.
Soldado hit a curling effort from the edge of the area, which Mignolet punches clear.
38th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Bentaleb tests Mignolet with a shot from distance, but the LFC goalkeeper easily saves it.
30th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Suarez now holds Liverpool’s record for most goals in a single Premier League season. He was tied with Robbie Fowler on 28 coming into the game.
25th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Eriksen shoots from around 12 yards out, but Skrtel intervention prevents a quick response to Suarez’s goal.
Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 30, 2014
25th minute, 2-0 Liverpool: Suarez gives Liverpool a 2-0 lead.
Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 30, 2014
Dawson tried a one-touch pass to Kaboul, but Suarez intercepted it and burst into Tottenham’s area. He then hit a left-footed shot to the far post, which beat the diving Lloris.
That’s Suarez’s league-leading 29th goal of the season.
24th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Vertonghen has an injury problem, and he won’t be able to continue.
Dawson replaces the Belgian, as Tottenham’s injury crisis goes from bad to worse.
16th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Coutinho tries to volley Suarez’s pass past Lloris but misses the target. It would have been a spectacular goal.
14th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Liverpool has made a habit of scoring early this season.
52 - Liverpool have scored 52 first half PL goals this season; 12 more than Spurs have managed in total. Power.—
(@OptaJoe) March 30, 2014
But Tottenham has given the Reds their earliest-ever gift in the Premier League.
#LFC 1-0 TOT (2') - Younes Kaboul's own goal was the quickest own goal to benefit Liverpool in the PL era.—
Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) March 30, 2014
10th minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Suarez and Sturridge nearly combined to make it two for Liverpool, but the Uruguayan’s cross was a few inches too high for Sturridge, who would have headed it in at the far post.
Seventh minute, 1-0 Liverpool: The Reds are off to a fast start thanks to the early goal, and they look lively and confident as they search for the second.
They’re controlling possession, and much of the early proceedings are taking place in Tottenham’s half. When the Spurs have the ball, Liverpool is pressing them all over the field, causing turnovers. It’s early domination for the home team.
Second minute, 1-0 Liverpool: Liverpool takes an early lead thanks to Tottenham.
Johnson received a pass from Sterling, surged past Eriksen into the box and sent a cross to the goal-mouth, which went through Vertonghen’s legs before Kaboul bundled it into the net.
First minute, 0-0: And we’re underway. Liverpool is attacking the Anfield Road end.
Pregame: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers makes just one change to the team that beat Sunderland on Wednesday, as Sterling replaces Allen in the starting 11.
The 19-year-old Sterling could take a place in the attacking midfield behind Suarez and Sturridge, as Rodgers has used him lately, or out wide as part of the front three, as he has done for much of his young career.
Soldado will lead Tottneham’s attack in the absence of injured striker Emmanuel Adebayor. Soldado is enduring a difficult first season in the Premier League. The Spanish striker has scored just six goals in 25 games.
10:45 a.m.:Here are the lineups:
Simon Mignolet (15), goalkeeper
Jon Flanagan (38), left back
Daniel Agger (5), center back
Martin Skrtel (37), center back
Glen Johnson (2), right back
Steven Gerrard (8), midfielder
Philippe Coutinho (10), midfielder
Jordan Henderson (14), midfielder
Raheem Sterling (31), forward
Daniel Sturridge (15), forward
Luis Suarez (7), forward
Brad Jones (1), goalkeeper
Mamadou Sakho (17), defender
Aly Cissokho (20), defender
Lucas Leiva (21), midfielder
Joe Allen (24), midfielder
Victor Moses (12), forward
Iago Aspas (9), striker
Hugo Lloris (25), goalkeeper
Danny Rose (3), left back
Jan Vertonghen (5), center back
Younes Kaboul (4), center back
Kyle Naughton (16), right back
Nabil Bentaleb (42), midfielder
Gylfi Sigurdsson (22), midfielder
Aaron Lennon (7), midfielder
Nacer Chadli (21), midfielder
Christian Eriksen (23), midfielder
Roberto Soldado (9), striker
Brad Friedel (24), goalkeeper
Michael Dawson (20), defender
Moussa Dembele (19), midfielder
Sandro (30), midfielder
Andros Townsend (17), midfielder
Harry Winks, midfielder
Harry Kane (37), striker
10:30 a.m. ET: Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were direct rivals on Dec. 15. — the date of their last meeting.
Liverpool hammered Tottenham 5-0 at White Hart Lane that day, and the result was a turning point in both teams’ seasons. Liverpool has surged since then, reaching the status of Premier League title contenders. Tottenham replaced former manager Andre Villas-Boas with Tim Sherwood a day after the defeat, but Spurs’ pursuit of a top-four finish and UEFA Champions League qualification has largely stalled.
Liverpool hosts Tottenham on Sunday with plenty at stake. The Reds can extend their winning streak to eight games and move to the top of the Premier League standings with a victory. Three points also can help Tottenham can keep pace with Everton and Arsenal — its new rivals for fourth.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 11 a.m. ET. Stay right here, as we’ll bring you all the action from Anfield.