Liverpool Ease To Win At Spurs
…Liverpool bounce back from loss to Man City
…Tottenham suffer first loss under Pochettino
…Balotelli wastes chances on Liverpool debut
Brendan Rodgers celebrated his 100th match as Liverpool manager with another comfortable win against previously unbeaten Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Mario Balotelli wasted several chances on his Reds debut but it mattered little as Spurs lost for the first time under new boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool, who won 5-0 in this fixture last season, led when Raheem Sterling converted at the far post.
Steven Gerrard's penalty and Alberto Moreno's precise finish sealed the win.
Liverpool scored nine unanswered goals against Spurs last season – following up the 5-0 success in north London with a 4-0 victory at Anfield – and tore apart a new-look Spurs side which had made a positive start under Pochettino.
The Reds have since lost talismanic striker Luis Suarez, who tormented Spurs on both occasions last season, but demonstrated the same attacking verve which helped them finish as Premier League runners-up in May.
Rodgers is still integrating nine summer signings into his squad and saw his side edge past Southampton on the opening weekend, before being comfortably beaten by reigning champions Manchester City on Monday.
But they clicked into gear against Spurs as England forward Sterling carried his encouraging World Cup form into the new domestic season.
The 19-year-old, playing in a more central role, worried the home defence with his pace and direct running throughout.
He scored the opening goal as the Reds needed just eight minutes to find a breakthrough against a Spurs side which had not conceded in their opening two Premier League fixtures.
Daniel Sturridge picked out the intelligent run of Jordan Henderson and he unselfishly squared across the Spurs goal for Sterling to steer in.
And the home side were lucky not to fall further behind as Liverpool dominated the opening 15 minutes.
Despite Rodgers insisting his team have not turned into “the Mario Balotelli show”, the Italian inevitably proved to be a central figure in the opening exchanges.
His firm header forced Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris into an acrobatic save after just three minutes, before a weak header from inside the six-yard box squirmed wide shortly after Sterling's opener.
The ex-Manchester City striker also haplessly miscued a long-range effort when Lloris rashly raced from his goal and played a poor clearance straight to his feet.
But his failure to give the visitors a more commanding lead did not prove significant.
Spurs had netted 21 goals in their previous six home games but were unable to exploit some defensive uncertainty from the visitors as they searched for an equaliser before the break.
Emmanuel Adebayor lobbed over the Liverpool goal when a long punt forward caught the away defence flat-footed, before Reds defender Dejan Lovren came to the rescue by blocking Erik Lamela's shot after Mamadou Sakho sloppily surrendered possession.
But their clearest opportunity came when Liverpool allowed another high ball to slice them open, with an unmarked Nacer Chadli pouncing to force Belgium team-mate Simon Mignolet into a smart reaction save.
Any Spurs momentum gained soon dissipated, however, when right-back Eric Dier tugged back Reds midfielder Joe Allen in the box moments after the restart and Gerrard confidently fired low into the corner from the spot.
And Spain full-back Moreno, a recent £12m signing from Sevilla, sealed the comprehensive win when he charged forward unchallenged before driving a low shot into the far corner.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino:
“We need to learn and improve – today was a very tough game for us.
“I think the first 45 minutes we competed very well and had some good chances. But the key moment came in the second half – it was a very soft penalty. When you are 2-0 down against Liverpool it is very difficult.”