What a difference having another striker makes, as Liverpool returned to their diamond formation and once again routed a sad looking Tottenham side, beating Spurs 3-0 at White Hart Lane through another brilliant display from Raheem Sterling who scored the opening goal, followed by Steven Gerrard and Alberto Moreno also putting their name on the score sheet.
Tottenham came into the match filled with confidence thanks to their two opening wins and not conceding a single goal in one of them, but their defense was too slow against a very quick and mobile Liverpool attack, presenting Mario Balotelli for the first time. The Italian striker, making his Premier League return, wasn’t very accurate or deft with most of his touches, but simply his presence allowed Daniel Sturridge to move freely to the wings, and give Raheem Sterling the space to show just how good of a player he is.
The first goal came from that new spacing, as Sturridge set up Jordan Henderson for an easy cross in the box, while Sterling made his way uninterrupted to connect with the low cross. Tottenham made attempts, mostly through Emmanuel Adebayor, but the duo of Sakho and Dejan Lovren, teaming up for the first time in the middle, had no problems stopping the Togolese striker from causing problems.
The second half was more of the same, as Joe Allen was caught by Eric Dier in the penalty box and fell to draw the attention of the referee. Steven Gerrard had no problem converting that penalty kick, and soon after Alberto Moreno made it 3-0 after dispossession Andros Townsend, making a crucial mistake only 10 seconds after coming into the match to try and show that they hype from last season isn’t gone.
Moreno simply strode forward and found the right angle and space between Hugo Lloris stretching his arms and the post, scoring his first for the his new club. Lazar Markovic, Jose Enrique and Emre Can were introduced, but the bite was taken out of the match, as Daniel Sturridge kept looking for a goal but didn’t have it in him on the day, while Tottenham looked lost and like a team that has given up.
Liverpool looked completely different compared to their loss at the Etihad. A confident team, although making too many foolish mistakes defensively, which would have been punished against a better team. Mario Balotelli made the right impression on his debut for the club, and he’ll probably look sharper and more accurate with more playing time. It’s still too soon to tell if they’ll be joining the title run, but if anyone was looking for a response and rebound from a demoralizing loss, their decisive performance against a club that’s been overrated going into the match was probably enough.