Liverpool swamp Spurs to fire title dreams
Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since Christmas with an emphatic 4-0 win at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
With title rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal all dropping points on Saturday, Liverpool took full advantage to enhance their prospects of a first championship win since 1990.
An own goal from Tottenham captain Younes Kaboul set Liverpool on their way inside the opening two minutes and Brendan Rodgers's side never looked back as they kept the destiny of the title in their own hands with City and Chelsea still to visit Anfield.
Top scorer Luis Suarez doubled the lead with his 29th goal of the season after 25 minutes, before Philippe Coutinho added a third 10 minutes into the second half.
Jordan Henderson completed the rout 15 minutes from the end, sealing an eighth consecutive league victory.
No team in the top flight has bettered Tottenham's nine away wins this season, but Tim Sherwood's side have now lost their last three away from White Hart Lane, as their season threatens to peter out.
But while Spurs are beginning to look a spent force, Liverpool are going from strength to strength as they close in on matching a run of nine successive wins from the 2005-06 campaign, when they finished third.
Liverpool manager Rodgers made one change to the side that had beaten Sunderland 2-1 in mid-week, with Raheem Sterling replacing Joe Allen.
And Sterling immediately made his presence felt as Liverpool took barely 90 seconds to go in front.
The winger combined with England colleague Glen Johnson, whose overlapping run took him into the box and enabled him to put a low cross into the goalmouth.
- Suarez punishes Dawson error -
Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were both lurking, but following a deflection off defender Jan Vertonghen, it was Kaboul who inadvertently got the final touch to nudge the ball over the line.
It was not totally one-sided as Tottenham looked to respond on the counter-attack, but with little more than a quarter of the game gone, the Londoners -- still missing injured top scorer Emmanuel Adebayor -- left themselves with a near impossible task.
Michael Dawson's replacement of the injured Vertonghen should not have caused a major problem, with the long-serving defender slotting back into Tottenham's defence alongside Kaboul.
But his rustiness following an injury lay-off was apparent as his misdirected pass allowed Suarez a run on goal that he exploited to the full.
Getting away from Kaboul, the striker beat Hugo Lloris with a left-foot shot across the goalkeeper into the far corner to claim his sixth goal in four games.
Kaboul's afternoon then almost took a further turn for the worse four minutes before half-time as he almost gifted Livepool a third goal.
Dallying in possession, the Spurs skipper was dispossessed by Sterling, whose cross was met by a powerful header from Suarez, which was superbly touched onto the post by Lloris.
Sterling was a source of constant worry for the Londoners and eight minutes into the second half he should have put the game beyond doubt, but rather than shooting he passed to Henderson, who shot over.
The end was not long in coming, though, as just a couple of minutes later Jon Flanagan carried the ball out of defence and picked out Coutinho, whose low shot from 22 yards found the bottom-left corner.
When Henderson then curled a free-kick through a crowd of bodies and directly past Lloris, a repeat of Liverpool's 5-0 win at Tottenham earlier in the season was on the cards.
This time there was not a fifth goal, but Liverpool had already done enough.