Liverpool battered Tottenham 5-0 to send out their own title shouts, and provide plenty of positives
Beating a top-four rival 5-0, and in doing so inflicting their heaviest home defeat for sixteen years, is always going to provide a plethora of positive talking points. Here are five from many:
Joe Allen had one of his best games for Liverpool
Just a few weeks ago, Joe Allen missed a huge chance to score what would have been the winning goal in the Merseyside derby. It looked like that chance may have been one of the things that defined his Liverpool career. Against Tottenham he proved just how big an influence he can be for Liverpool. It was the biggest possible compliment that, as the man coming into Steven Gerrard's place in the Liverpool team, the Reds barely missed their captain. This match could be the making of Joe Allen's Liverpool career.
Jordan Henderson really stepped into Gerrard's shoes
And while Allen impressed in the deeper position Gerrard has been playing this season, it was Jordan Henderson who, alongside Luis Suarez, was the real standout performer. Playing very much with the all-round strength and tenacity of a Gerrard in his pomp, Henderson had the best game of his Liverpool career, and proved that he may just be the long-term solution for that attacking midfield role. If he keeps up this form he'll find himself on a certain summer flight to Brazil too.
The Reds noticeably wanted this game more
Though the red card may have been an excuse to say the match as a contest ended in the 63rd minute, in truth the whole Liverpool team had been competing much more fiercely for the entire hour leading up to that moment. They gave Tottenham no time on the ball, they made runs and chased lost causes, and they displayed a belief and passion superior to Spurs in every way. Brendan Rogers will be delighted with the performance and be able to use it as a standpoint for any tough away trip, starting with the Boxing Day visit to the Etihad.
Two academy players looked very much Premier League class
Raheem Sterling had his best game since bursting onto the first team at the start of last season, giving makeshift left-back Kyle Naughton a game he'll have nightmares about, and getting on the scoresheet too. Young fullback Jon Flanagan had an outstanding match as well, and proved that he could be a real player for Liverpool, dominating Aaron Lennon and scoring a fantastic goal for the team's third. Both players could be big players for the Anfield outfit this year.
Liverpool showed the value of keeping your best player, whatever the cost
This summer was all about Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale being chased by some of the biggest teams in the world. For much of the summer it looked like Suarez was destined to leave, and yet it was Bale that wound up in the Spanish capital. Liverpool keeping hold of their man showed the potential benefits of keeping one of the best players in the world at your club, even if he was against it at the time. Suarez was again a figurehead, again the best player on the park, and he also led the club to victory as captain. If Bale's role at Spurs was the same, and his absence a key point in their struggles, then €100 million isn't enough for a player of Suarez's ability. He's priceless.
image: © Vincent Teeuwen