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Liverpool 4 Tottenham Hotspur 0: Liverpool hang title hopes high for all to see

There are those at Anfield who still talk about Manchester United fans and their banners.

Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard celebrate  as Liverpool take top spot. Picture: SNS
Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard celebrate as Liverpool take top spot. Picture: SNS

On a weekend when a handful of them stumped up 840 quid to have a sign flown above Old Trafford to illustrate their strong opposition to David Moyes, it would seem pertinent to point out that they had pulled a stunt like that before. Oddly enough, that came on a day when Liverpool played host to Spurs.

It was three years ago, or the good old days as they are known down in Stretford. United had just secured their 19th top-flight title and a band of supporters paid in to the match at Anfield the next day and pinned up a banner which goaded the home support, whose team had won only a paltry 18. It read: "MUFC 19 times". The silent addendum was: "know your place".

A response has been some time in coming but the message will be displayed up and down England this morning. It is known as the Barclays Premier League table and shows the Anfield side sitting top, two points ahead of Chelsea and with the same number of games played. Were it Glasgow then some Liverpool fans might have added a post script of their own: "United. Come ahead."

This is a challenge which can be issued without risk of getting a slap in the mouth. United are so far out of the title race this season that it has looked as though they might have pulled a hammy around Christmas and are still waiting on the race stewards coming to help. It is unlikely to have registered with them at all that Liverpool became league leaders yesterday after thumping Tottenham Hotspur.

It was a result of panache, spirit and the boot of Luis Suarez. The Reds have become so vibrant this season that it is almost seems inappropriate to assess their title credentials by looking at it in black and white. Their win yesterday was the 11th occasion this season that Brendan Rodgers side has scored four or more goals in a game, while they have won 35 of a possible 39 points since falling to defeat against Chelsea on December 29. The Stamford Bridge side, as well as Manchester City and Arsenal will each have a say in the championship this term. It is just that, at the moment at least, Liverpool are the only team that anyone is likely to listen to.

The volume rose immediately inside Anfield yesterday. It is fully 24 years since they won a title but it took just two minutes to make a move on top spot; Glen Johnson stabbed a low pass across the face of goal and Younes Kaboul prodded it into his own net.

Another defensive error from Spurs, this time from Michael Dawson, then opened a gap for Suarez and the Uruguayan striker skelped in his side's second. The London side were staggering and Suarez tried to put the head on them before the break with a header which was pushed on to a post. The Liverpool striker would be left waiting to score his 30th league goal of the campaign.

Anfield did not have to show as much patience awaiting a third goal - and an opportunity to announce that their side was top of the league - as Philippe Coutinho clipped a shot into the net from 25 yards out just 10 minutes after the break. A low free-kick from Jordan Henderson 20 minutes later made it 4-0.

These were the moments which left a mark on Spurs, but they were made to parry further thrusts from Raheem Sterling, Suarez and another from Coutinho before taking shelter in the away dressing room. Under Rodgers this season, Liverpool have discovered attacking fluency and a ruthlessness in possession. Indeed when Suarez drove another shot at goal in the second half it was tempting to assume that the striker had traded the ball in for a flail.

It was not the first time that Spurs have suffered the footballing equivalent of GBH this season either. The London side shipped four goals to Chelsea earlier this month and six against City in November. They are still in contention for the Europa League spot but yesterday supporters put their manager under scrutiny.

Tim Sherwood sat in the directors' box and was subjected to chants of "Where is our manager?" from fans during the second half, a message that might also have reached Daniel Levy as he positioned himself just two rows behind his beleaguered head coach. The frustration of fans was dangled in front of them, there for all to see.

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