EPL: The Suarez gems

EPL: The Suarez gems

TOTTENHAM 0
LIVERPOOL 5

(Luis Suarez 18, 84, Jordan Henderson 40, John Flanagan 75, Raheem Sterling 89)

In 90 minutes of football, Luis Suarez claimed two victims.

His two goals and two assists helped Liverpool to a resounding 5-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane Monday morning (Singapore time).

The Spurs board then decided that the embarrassment was too much to bear, and sacked manager Andre Villas-Boas on Monday.

There was little, however, the Portuguese could have done to stop Suarez, who captained Liverpool for the first time in that match.

So brilliant was he against Spurs that injured Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, moonlighting as an analyst on Sky Sports, called him the "best player" in the world.

On current form, there will be few disputes to Gerrard's claim.

Suarez's brace takes his tally to eight goals in his last three matches, and 17 goals overall to lead the Premiership top scorers' chart. The win also closed the gap on leaders Arsenal to two points as the season nears the halfway mark.

A top-four finish may have been their pre-season target, but surely now the goalposts must shift.

A home win over Cardiff on Saturday will propel them to first in the standings at least temporarily, as Arsenal will take on Chelsea only next Monday.

This is their best chance of a league title since Rafael Benitez took the Reds to second spot in the 2008/09 campaign.

It's the Premiership crown they must gun for now, and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers must not be afraid to lay down the challenge to his men.

It's not the time to get carried away, but neither is it the moment to be contented with status quo.

Following the Cardiff fixture, it's two tough away games with Manchester City and Chelsea to finish 2013.

Liverpool's players must go into both matches believing that they are genuine rivals for the title, and not merely stumbling blocks to others' ambitions.

They must have the mindset and the conviction that they are good enough to win their first league title since 1990.

With a string of encouraging performances this season, the Anfield faithful has earned their right to optimism.

It's easy to forget that Rodgers was missing two key players against Spurs - Gerrard in midfield and Daniel Sturridge up front.

The Northern Irishman, though, will be comforted by how his players stepped up to the plate in their absence.

Jordan Henderson gave an all-action display from midfield, his runs from deep presenting Spurs' backline with a constant headache.

Philippe Coutinho shone in attack, spraying defence-splitting passes with ease and always getting into threatening positions.

Even young left back John Flanagan capped a fine display with his first senior goal for the club. Suarez, of course, was the architect of it all.

If the red half of Merseyside dares to dream, it's because of the Uruguayan.

How Liverpool end the year will reveal if this is just another false dawn, or the start of a new era.

garylim@sph.com.sg


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