Luis Suarez has extended his hot scoring run with a double as Liverpool overwhelmed 10-man Tottenham 5-0 to go within two points of the top of the English Premier League.
Suarez was captain of Liverpool for the first time, as he took his tally to eight goals in three games and helped to set up the other three goals by Jordan Henderson, Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling on Sunday.
It was Liverpool’s first away win since September 29 at Sunderland, as they ended a five-game losing streak at White Hart Lane
“We were like animals,” Liverpool manger Brendan Rodgers said.
Assuming the armband from the injured Steven Gerrard indicated that Suarez had fully completed his rehabilitation from bans for racist abuse and biting, and antagonising fans by pushing for a transfer during the summer.
Suarez may well be relieved that Liverpool would not sanction the move to Arsenal, with the London club now only a place and two points ahead at the top of the standings after losing 6-3 at Manchester City on Saturday.
The Uruguayan has 17 goals in a season that only began in late September as he completed the 10-game biting ban.
Manchester United rise
As Tottenham struggled to cope with the speed and intensity of Liverpool’s attack, Suarez took just 17 minutes to open the scoring.
Henderson volleyed in another before half-time, following up after Suarez was denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Any hopes of a Tottenham comeback were thwarted by Paulinho being sent off in the 63rd for sinking his boot into Suarez’s ribs.
Suarez then set up Flanagan for Liverpool’s third, found the net again himself in the 84th, and fed the ball for Sterling to complete the rout five minutes later.
“I am a striker so I try to score, but most important was the performance of the team,” Suarez said.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Danny Welbeck scored a first half double, as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0.
Tom Cleverley sealed the three-points for the 20-time league champions as United rose to 8th in the table.
Sunday’s other result saw Swansea draw 1-1 with Norwich.
Swansea winger Nathan Dyer was taken to hospital after suffering a suspected fractured ankle.