Liverpool routed Tottenham for the second time this season to move two points clear at the top of the Premier League with their eighth consecutive victory.
The visitors’ resolve was broken inside two minutes when Glen Johnson’s low cross was turned into his own net by Younes Kaboul, and Luis Suarez doubled the Reds’ lead with a clinical finish on 25 minutes.
Coutinho added another layer of gloss to the scoreline with a wonderful low drive from distance on 55 minutes before Jordan Henderson’s free-kick flew through a mass of bodies to compound Tottenham’s humiliation.
|VIEW FROM ANFIELD
|By Jonathan Birchall
What is turning into a quite extraordinary season for Liverpool has been bookmarked yet again with another outstanding performance here at Anfield.
The hosts simply annihilated a Tottenham side completely lacking in sprit, ideas or belief, with Tim Sherwood having watched helplessly on from the stands.
“We’re going to win the league” sang the Kop as the final whistle came.
With performances like this, it’s becoming increasingly hard to argue with them.
Spurs showed little in the way of attacking threat, but it will be their basic defensive errors that will have head coach Tim Sherwood most concerned.
After glaring mistakes in recent games with Southampton and Chelsea, it was a familiar story for Spurs and Liverpool ruthlessly exposed their deficiencies in extending their unbeaten league run to 13 matches.
Liverpool got off to a flying start, taking the lead through Kaboul‘s own goal in the second minute.
Johnson sent in a low cross from the right and, after a slight deflection off Vertonghen, the Frenchman got his feet in a tangle and diverted the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box.
The visitors suffered a further setback midway through the half when they lost Vertonghen through injury, and his replacement Dawson’s mistake led to Liverpool’s second.
In trying to lay the ball off to Kaboul, Dawson’s errant pass allowed Suarez to get the better of the centre-back before racing clear and finishing across Lloris into the bottom right-hand corner.
Spurs responded brightly, Martin Skrtel blocking Christian Eriksen’s effort before Simon Mignolet denied Roberto Soldado’s curler.
Another Tottenham mistake almost put the game beyond doubt a minute later, Suarez seeing his back-post header brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Lloris after Kaboul had squandered possession to Raheem Sterling.
Liverpool were similarly wasteful in the 54th minute, Henderson failing to hit the target from 14 yards with just a defender on the line to beat.
But Coutinho‘s goal rendered that miss irrelevant a minute later, the Brazilian firing past Lloris from 25 yards after advancing into space.
Lloris kept out Daniel Sturridge’s impudent backheel after yet more hesitancy in the Spurs’ backline, but Henderson‘s set-piece rounded off the scoring as Liverpool moved a step closer to a first league title since 1990.