Liverpool nearly won the Premier League title last season because of its attacking quality, and we might have seen the start of a similar title march Sunday at White Hart Lane.
The Reds earned a convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur to continue their recent dominance over the London club.
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Spurs had absolutely no answer for Liverpool’s attack, which made goalkeeper Hugo Lloris very busy for 90 minutes. The Reds earned a 17-7 shot advantage and a 10-6 edge in chances, three of which were created by winger Raheem Sterling.
The 19-year-old Englishman was the best player on the field Sunday and earned “Man of the Match” honors with a brilliant performance that included an eighth-minute goal to open the scoring.
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Sterling connected in the penalty box on a cross from Jordan Henderson, the second time the Liverpool midfielder has set up the young forward for a goal this season. It also was Sterling’s second goal in three league matches.
Tottenham found it quite difficult to contain Sterling on the wing, where he used his pace, creativity and quick dribbling skills to dart past defenders and create scoring opportunities for himself and teammates. He almost scored a wondergoal late in the second half after dangling past two defenders in the penalty box, but his right-footed shot from 6 yards out was mishit and went straight to Lloris.
Even though Mario Balotelli didn’t score in his much-anticipated debut, he did make a positive impact in Liverpool’s attack. The Italian striker nearly connected on a cross from Daniel Sturridge in the opening minutes, but his header was fired directly at Lloris. Balotelli was constantly involved in Liverpool’s assault on the Tottenham goal, tallying six total shot attempts. Most of those were hit well wide off the net, but that’s to be expected from a player who hasn’t played much competitive soccer since the World Cup in July.
The other bright spot in the Liverpool attack was left back Alberto Moreno, who arrived at Anfield from Spanish club Sevilla this summer. After Steven Gerrard doubled his team’s lead with a penalty-kick goal in the 49th minute, Moreno made it 3-0 with a spectacular individual effort. The Spaniard also finished the match with 87 percent pass accuracy.
The Reds’ three goals Sunday give them 63 for the calendar year, the most of any club during Premier League competition. As Balotelli gets more comfortable in manager Brendan Rodgers’ system and develops chemistry with the rest of the forward group, Liverpool should become the most dangerous attacking team in England.
Rodgers has done a fantastic job figuring out where his players are most effective and which formations will create the most scoring opportunities. As a result, his first 100 games with the club have produced impressive results.
Despite the clean sheet versus Tottenham, Liverpool still has work to do defensively. Luckily for Rodgers, the attacking depth and quality of his squad will make up for many of its defensive mistakes. The season is very young, but it’s already evident that Liverpool is capable of mounting a title challenge with its goal-scoring prowess.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@LiverpoolFC