Tottenham 0 Liverpool 5: Henderson and Sterling Inspire Rampant Reds

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Tottenham 0 Liverpool 5: Henderson and Sterling Inspire Rampant Reds
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Well, if you’re going to finally do something, you may as well do it right.

Winning away at one of the traditionally recognised "big" teams of the Premier League was a feat that had previously alluded Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool, but it somehow made sense that they would break that duck so spectacularly on a day when the Northern Irishman had named Luis Suarez as captain.

Both the forward and his club never seem to do anything quietly, after all.

Liverpool were simply magnificent in their 5-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, as they produced a performance that was inspired not by the usual sources of the injured Steven Gerrard or even Suarez despite his two goals, but by the energy and effervescence of youth. And English youth, at that.

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Jordan Henderson, 22, and Raheem Sterling, who only turned 19 last weekend, were simply terrific as the Reds took the battle to Spurs right from the kick-off.

The early bout between Sterling and Tottenham's makeshift left-back Kyle Naughton could almost be viewed as a precursor to how the heavyweight contest between two teams eyeing at least a spot in the Champions League would go.

Both had injuries, but the shuddering jabs repeatedly delivered by Sterling to a dizzied rival set the tone for a one-sided fight. Liverpool looked determined to win by knockout.

The fact that they did was largely due to the influence of the excellent Henderson in the most advanced of the three midfield positions behind Suarez.

With Kenny Dalglish, the man who signed him, watching on from the director's box, the young Englishman tore around the pitch and had more than a hand in the three goals which established Liverpool's dominance either side of half-time.

It was a combination of Henderson's running and his determination which set up Suarez for the first, before the midfielder's perseverance and no little quality led to the secondHenderson’s first Premier League goal of the season.

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The North-Easterner was again the key influence in Liverpool's third, which was joyously finished by the youngster Jon Flanagan following a Philippe Coutinho cross.

Twenty-year-old full-back Flanagana boyhood Liverpool fan who would have been in with the away supporters were he not on the pitchwon’t have seen many away performances as good as this in recent years. The club captain probably wouldn’t either.

As Gerrard watched Henderson, Flanagan, Sterling and Co. from a TV studiosomething that may become more common in a few years' timehe can't have helped but smile. In the White Hart Lane stands, England boss Roy Hodgson must have followed suit.

Because Hendersonhis side-parting stuck closely to his scalp through a mixture of sweat and rainwas both Liverpool's inspiration and perspiration here. He’s no often provided the latter, but this was a welcome appearance for the former.

Sterling had set the tone for the performance with his energy at the start of itand the teenager got a richly deserved goal at the endbut it was Liverpool’s No. 14 that Spurs simply couldn’t handle.

The home midfield, which was weakened when Paulinho launched into his high challenge on Suarez to receive a red card when his team were already 2-0 down, seemingly lacked cohesion.

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Andre Villas-Boas has assembled plenty of star names in North London, but their suitability to play in a team has to be questioned.

Admittedly, the early loss of Sandro through injury was a blow, but Liverpool were already so superior by the time of Paulinho’s red card that they can barely point to that as an excuse for the scoreline.

The immediate future of boss Villas-Boas is unclear at the time of writing, but the Portuguese needs to create a team ethic amongst a squad comprising several players who were brought in with money which barely had time to rest in the club’s account following the Gareth Bale transfer.

More haste, less speed, might be the lesson for the Tottenham boss in the future, but he can have no complaints here having been beaten by a Liverpool team which seems to comprise a devastating combination of both.

Brendan Rodgers will rightly be delighted at what surely represents the standout result of his 18 months in charge, and whilst the lazy conclusion would simply be to look at Suarez’s two goals, his captain’s armband and his relaxed and happy demeanour, you have to put this down as a triumph for the team.

Hendersonand indeed Sterling at timeshave been known to bear the brunt of the frustration when that team doesn’t function, and so it is only right that they should be celebrated when it does.

And at White Hart Lane, it certainly did that and more.

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