There were a number of question that rose out of Liverpool’s loss to Manchester City on Monday, but an emphatic 3-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur yesterday answered the vast majority of them in exactly the way you want your football team to — with actions, not mere words.
Over their last three meetings with Spurs, the Reds have scored a combined 12-goals without allowing even one. With many a pundit questioning outright whether or not Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers can lift his team back up to the lofty heights we saw last season without Luis Suarez, yesterday he proved that there’s life after the Uruguayan. “We were excellent,” said the Northern Irishman in his post-match interview. “It was a brilliant win at a difficult place to come. It was a great win for us, two out of three now, and I’m reasonably happy.”
It was a combination of Tottenham Hotspur being that bad and Liverpool being that good that saw the Reds follow up their 5-0 victory at White Hart Lane last season with yet another commanding performance in the Big Smoke.
Raheem Sterling got things started early on when he finished an excellent Jordan Henderson square ball across the face of goal before a second half penalty from Steven Gerrard doubled up on the youngster’s opener. There were doubts that new boy Alberto Moreno would be fit after twisting his ankle in the 3-0 loss to Manchester City on Monday, but he showed no signs of the knock when he sprinted from well within his own half on the counter-attack to curl one past Hugo Lloris.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been quick to stress that this will not turn into the “Mario Balotelli show”, but it’s hard to argue that the focus — both on their own website and in the wider media — hasn’t centered around the controversial Italian since his arrival from AC Milan last week.
With the Northern Irishman hinting heavily that Super Mario could make his debut when the Reds travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday, the circus isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. The 24-year old generates headlines no matter what he does and even if he only makes a cameo appearance for the Anfield outfit, there’s little doubt that the bulk of the media attention will center around him and his first outing in the famous red shirt.
Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino remembers what happened the last time Liverpool lined up at White Hart Lane — you don’t have to remind him.
Even though the Argentine was in charge at Southampton when it happened, the Reds 5-0 win over a new look Spurs side announced the Anfield outfit as real title contenders and ended up being the catalyst for then manager André Villas-Boas eventual sacking. Although history isn’t likely to repeat itself when Liverpool return to the scene of the crime on Sunday, there’s the faint scent of déjà vu in the air as the London side recover from a tough Thursday night in Europe.
Liverpool’s search for a world class striker to replace Luis Suarez looks to have reached its culmination with the Reds confirming yesterday afternoon that they’ve completed the signing of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan.
The move has been met with almost universal approval on Merseyside with the powerful Italian’s successful first stint in the Premier League still fresh in the memory. “I didn’t expect it because I’ve always been playing against Liverpool. Whenever I played against Liverpool, the fans weren’t nice with me but that’s normal – it’s football!” quipped the 24-year old in his first interview with the official website. “Now that I play for Liverpool, I can see the expectation in people. They’re very happy and that makes me very happy at the same time.”