The open, attacking style of this contest was partly the result of aggressive team selections from both coaches. Liverpool's manager, Brendan Rodgers, played Raheem Sterling in place of Joe Allen, switching to a 4-3-3 system, while the Tottenham manager, Tim Sherwood, selected four attacking midfielders with only Nabil Bentaleb for protection. Both sides wanted to dominate.
This suited Liverpool, who were allowed the freedom to demonstrate intelligent, cohesive, confident attacking football throughout. The match followed the pattern of their similarly convincing home victories over Everton and Arsenal, 4-0 and 5-1 respectively; they started at tremendous speed, opened the scoring early, then sat deeper before attacking directly and ruthlessly.
For all Liverpool's dominance they rarely put constant pressure upon the Spurs backline, or threw men forward relentlessly to cause overloads in the final third. They didn't have to – their front three harried Spurs' defenders, forced mistakes and created opportunities for themselves, then used the ball efficiently.
Liverpool's second goal summed it up – Steven Gerrard hit an aimless 40-yard ball at Spurs' substitute defender Michael Dawson, whose wayward square pass found Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan immediately sprinted in behind to score. He nearly scored his second before half-time, when Younès Kaboul's pass was intercepted by Sterling and Suárez's header forced Hugo Lloris into a brilliant save. Liverpool's pressing was less obvious than against Arsenal or Manchester United, for example, but Spurs' complicity in the home side's goals was quite remarkable.
Sherwood's strategy must be blamed – the adventurous formation asked an awful lot of Bentaleb and exposed a nervous backline. It also makes little sense to deploy a wide forward, Nacer Chadli, in the No10 role with the central playmaker Christian Eriksen out on the left. Eriksen was exposed for Liverpool's opener, failing to track Glen Johnson.In fairness, Sherwood has never promoted himself as a strategic visionary. His back-to-basics approach initially had a positive impact as it provided such a contrast from André Villas-Boas, but now the honeymoon period has passed, Tottenham's lack of strategy and cohesion has become obvious.
This Spurs performance was just as bad as the 5-0 home thrashing against the same opposition in December – which led to Villas-Boas's dismissal. Sherwood's pre-match admission that he was 'too scared' to watch footage of that defeat suggests, in terms of preparation, he got what he deserved.