But Brendan Rodgers will have to be given the credit for galvanising the side again to immediately bounce back with 2 wins and at least 4 goals scored against Norwich, then West Ham.
Of course, the win against the Canaries could be regarded solely as the Luis Suarez show, but the West Ham victory was the entire side grinding out a result which was flattered only late on with two excellent goals for the 4-1 scoreline.
Now this thrashing of Tottenham at White Hart Lane could be downplayed by many as Liverpool’s good fortune of coming up against a side low on confidence this season, but a 5 goal margin is more than just luck and the opposition not playing well; it was a performance dripping with character. Especially from young Jon Flanagan, who people may forget is still only 20. He had the task of keeping Aaron Lennon quiet and while the winger hasn’t quite lived up to the potential he promised ever since bursting on to the scene, he could have proven more than a handful for an inexperienced full-back.
This was a thorough professional however, entrusted by Brendan Rodgers to do the job and the maturity shown by the youngster would be highly encouraging for anyone in the red half of Merseyside.
Of course there is the more seasoned youngster in Raheem Sterling who has been showing signs of steady improvement. This was displayed in abundance on Sunday in the way he kept going past defenders in a number of different ways. His lack of experience and composure might still have shown at times though when it came to putting the final ball in to the box. A slight over-excitement at finding yourself in a telling position sometimes affects your concentration.
It’s an overwhelming feeling which goes away with more games and Sterling has shown evidence of that steadily happening in the right direction this season. Rodgers would undoubtedly be looking to work at his game more to make him more direct with his passing, which could allow him to use his pace and find space behind defenders more often. That is already progressing quite well and with time, it should only get better. He did make up for the occasional lack of sharpness to completely go around a defender by slipping it through the legs for the cut-back which Suarez crossed in for Jon Flanagan’s volley.
Liverpool were, at times, scrappy with possession though and another side with better fortunes than Tottenham’s right now might have punished them. The defence was allowing Tottenham to find space in between the centre-backs to get in to the box occasionally and that will be another area Rodgers would want to shut out. The backline did come through where it mattered though. They cleared every possible danger and the much beleaguered Joe Allen seemed to be joining Lucas Leiva in picking it up from the edge of the Liverpool box.
While the first 3 goals were a combination of Liverpool’s persistence and Tottenham’s frailties, the final two goals were an example of simple passing and effective movement.
Luis Alberto had just been brought on and it only took him a few touches before a pass from the midfield found him with space, as well as two defenders beginning to run at him. His quick eye for the pass releasing Luis Suarez did most of the work for that goal. Once Hugo Lloris decided to come out of his area for it, there was only thing a player of Suarez’ caliber was going to do, and he did so with an assured clip over the keeper’s head.
The last goal was icing on a very tasty cake for Liverpool and Raheem Sterling’s reaction after slotting in from a timely Suarez through-ball almost personified a subtle embarrassment.
It’s not every day anyone scores 5 without reply against a side of Tottenham’s pedigree in recent years, certainly not in their backyard. It might have been a tad flustering and surreal for a side that struggled against Hull City and almost lost the Merseyside Derby but for Daniel Sturridge’s late equaliser.
It’ll also have to be a timely reminder that Liverpool can be good and get the right results if they apply themselves and take the initiative. At the same time, lackadaisical performances from anyone in the squad could result in a humiliation to the 6-3 tone suffered by league leaders Arsenal this weekend at Manchester City.
With away fixtures against The Citizens and Chelsea coming up in the immediate future, it will be handy to remind the players of both sides of this particular coin. For now though, Rodgers and his men will enjoy returning to 2nd spot on the table, and two behind Arsenal.
The summer saw uncertainty over Luis Suarez’s future and the very public declarations of aiming for a top 4 finish.
A couple of points behind the league leaders with Christmas looming won’t be a half bad sight now.