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Liverpool moved back into second in the Barclays Premier League, two points behind Arsenal, with a 5-0 victory over 10-man Tottenham Hotspur. Stand-in captain Luis Suarez scored twice as Liverpool won with a dominant display. Suarez has 17 goals from 11 league outings this season and opened the scoring after excellent work from Jordan Henderson, who doubled Liverpool's lead just before the break.
An out-of-sorts Spurs struggled to pose any attacking threat and saw their hopes of a fightback hit by Paulinho's 63rd-minute dismissal for a high tackle on Suarez. The visitors made the most of their advantage, adding further goals from Jon Flanagan, Suarez and Raheem Sterling. Liverpool's 10th win of the season lifts them above Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City in the table, while Tottenham remain seventh, eight points off top spot.
Spurs made two changes from their previous Barclays Premier League match, with Sandro and Roberto Soldado returning, while Lucas Leiva replaced Steven Gerrard (hamstring) in the only alteration to Liverpool's team.
Brendan Rodgers' side began the game well and took the lead in the 19th minute as Suarez punished Spurs’ defenders. Henderson dispossessed Michael Dawson inside the penalty area and the ball fell into the path of Suarez, who jinked past Kyle Walker and fired low under Hugo Lloris.
Spurs were struggling to create and nearly fell two goals behind in the 28th minute as Philippe Coutinho hit the crossbar. Nacer Chadli and substitute Lewis Holtby, who replaced the injured Sandro, wasted chances for the hosts before Liverpool claimed a second goal before the break.
Lloris did well to deny Henderson then Suarez in quick succession, but the second save merely provided the England midfielder with a second opportunity, which he accepted with a well-placed volley from 10 yards.
Mamadou Sakho nearly gave Liverpool a great start to the second half as he met a Raheem Sterling cross at the back, but his header hit a post and Martin Skrtel was unable to convert the rebound. Despite gaining more possession Tottenham's task was made a lot harder just after the hour as Paulinho saw red for catching Suarez in the chest with a wayward right boot.
Flanagan thundered home his first league goal for the club, lashing into the top-right corner after Henderson's clever backheel had given Suarez the opportunity to cross.
There was still time for Suarez to find the net again with a nonchalant lob and the Uruguayan then set up Sterling for Liverpool's fifth in the 89th minute.
Spurs head coach Andre Villas-Boas: "It was difficult for us, Liverpool were spectacular today. I assume responsibility of the failure; we have to bounce back again. In the Premier League things are not going as we expected, as we wanted, so it's normal that frustration is there from everybody.
"It's not me that decides [my future]; I can only work to make things better. I don't have to convince anybody [to keep the job], our run is magnificent in the other competitions but not in the Premier League.
“That is the reality that we face because our slip ups at home haven't allowed us to be in a better position. Our ambition to win trophies is still the same; our ambition to qualify for the UEFA Champions League is still the same."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "It was fantastic. It was everything that we wanted out of the game - in terms of how we operated and pressed the ball. That earned us the right to play. The quality of football - we scored five goals and probably could have had seven or eight. It was probably the most complete performance since I've been here."
"We just want to continue to improve. Today was great from that perspective. I really enjoyed watching my team today from every aspect."
|22 Dec 2013||v Southampton (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v West Brom (H)|
|29 Dec 2013||v Stoke (H)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|11 Jan 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|19 Jan 2014||v Swansea (A)|