Rivals face ‘tough challenge’ to knock Liverpool from top spot
Anfield side put in an awesome display at home during a 4-0 victory over Tottenham
Luis Suarez capitalises on uncertainty in the Spurs defence to score his 29th goal of the season, the most by a Liverpool player in a Premier League campaign.
Brendan Rodgers has warned Liverpool’s title rivals, Manchester City and Chelsea, that they face a “tough challenge” to knock Liverpool from the top of Premier League after watching his side reach the summit with a 4-0 victory over Tottenham.
The home side put in an awesome display against the London club, taking the lead inside two minutes through Younes Kaboul’s own-goal, with goals from Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson wrapping up Liverpool’s eighth successive league win and one which has put them within sight of a first title in 24 years.
With six fixtures to go the race is in Liverpool’s hands, and their home encounters against third-placed City on April 13th and second-placed Chelsea on April 27th are increasingly taking on the shape of defining encounters.
Given that they have won all bar two of their 16 league games at Anfield this season, scoring 47 times in the process, Liverpool will be confident of overcoming the two teams on their tail. Rodgers believes the club’s home support, who were in particularly raucous mood yesterday, are capable of making the difference.
“There is no doubt they understand this is going to be a real tough place to come,” said the Liverpool manager. “We love playing here and the support was incredible – that’s as good as I’ve heard at Anfield since I’ve been here – and it’s only going to intensify. We respect Chelsea, they have a world-class manager and top players, and City are one of the new superpowers of European football, but we feel we can win any game. We have a lot of hunger and our confidence and belief is high.”
Face West Ham
Liverpool, who have 71 points, two more than Chelsea –Manuel Pellegrini’s side have two games in hand – next face West Ham at Upton Park, a fixture Rodgers described as “difficult”. They travel there on Sunday having obliterated another London side, Tottenham, who arrived at Anfield with ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League.
Spurs remain sixth but are now eight points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. Their manager, Tim Sherwood, admitted that after this defeat their hopes of catching Arsene Wenger’s side are all but over.
“It was an exceptional performance by us,” said Rodgers. “We showed everything we have been working towards in the last year and a half and our dominance in possession, in particular, was very impressive. You can see the confidence in the side and they are great to watch.”
Host of chances
Liverpool created a host of chances to add to the four goals they did score, the closest of which was a header by Suarez on 41 minutes that Hugo Lloris tipped on to the crossbar. By that stage the Uruguayan had already capitalised on Michael Dawson’s and Kaboul’s defensive uncertainty to score his 29th goal of the season, the most by a Liverpool player in a Premier League campaign.
Kaboul was horribly exposed for Liverpool’s opener, which came following good work by Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson, before Coutinho scored with a drilled shot on 55 minutes. Henderson wrapped up the win with a free-kick late on.
This was a torrid afternoon for Spurs, who also lost Jan Vertonghen and Roberto Soldado to a knee and ankle injury respectively. By the end the away fans could be heard chanting “Where is our manager?” in reference to Sherwood’s decision to watch the majority of the game from the directors’ box.