It is all falling into place for Liverpool. "Brendan Rodgers – The Carefully Chosen One" read a pointed banner inside Anfield and his team moved imperiously to the Premier League summit with a defeat of Tottenham Hotspur that illustrated the belief running through the club. Six repeats and the once remote prospect of title No19 will be a reality.

A spine-tingling roar rolled off the Kop after an eighth consecutive league win lifted Liverpool above Manchester City and Chelsea with perfect timing. Anfield has been revived by a clear managerial vision, the world-class talent of Luis Suárez, now Liverpool's record goalscorer in a Premier League season, and a work-rate encapsulated by the likes of Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling. Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, looked on with only envy. He sanctioned a £110m spending spree last summer and his club have none of the above.

Tottenham wanted Rodgers to take charge at White Hart Lane in 2012 but their track record of managerial instability prompted rejection from the man from County Antrim. Two seats behind Levy sat Tim Sherwood, the present incumbent, who squirmed through an inept Spurs performance while angry away supporters chanted "Where is our manager?"

The season started with talk of a Tottenham title challenge and Liverpool facing a fight for Champions League qualification. An own goal from Younès Kaboul, Suárez's 29th of the season, a rare Philippe Coutinho strike and a merited reward for Henderson underlined the scale of the role reversal. This season's aggregate score reads 9-0 and, at 2.75 goals per game, Liverpool have replaced the 1960-61 Spurs team as the most prolific top-flight side of the post-war era.

Sherwood had just taken his place in the directors' box when Rodgers' decision to add even greater incisiveness to the Liverpool attack by selecting both Coutinho and Sterling paid dividends. The pair, who would depart to deserved standing ovations, combined to release Glen Johnson clear of a lazy Christian Eriksen challenge on the right. His low cross deflected off Jan Vertonghen, then Kaboul and trickled over the line with Hugo Lloris stranded. Title contenders do not require gifts but a delirious Anfield accepted gratefully.

Questions were raised over Liverpool's nerve following an anxious ending against Sunderland on Wednesday. The luxury of an early goal, and facing a Spurs defence without the discipline, concentration or organisation of Gus Poyet's relegation-threatened side, rendered that an issue for another time.

The failure of two centre-halves to deal with a routine cross set the tone for a hapless defensive show from the visitors. Sherwood was a model of pent-up fury. Kaboul let a cross bounce in front of him and Suárez almost pounced. He was then dispossessed by Sterling and only a stunning save from Lloris prevented Suárez scoring with a header at the back post. By contrast, Jon Flanagan threw himself into clean, aggressive tackles and Liverpool defended like men possessed.

Liverpool's second stemmed from another mix-up in the centre of Tottenham's rearguard. Michael Dawson had only been on the pitch for a minute as a replacement for the injured Vertonghen when he steered a sloppy pass inside for Kaboul. The French defender had Suárez on his shoulder and insufficient strength or quality on the ball to keep it that way. A poor first touch sent the Uruguay international clear and, with plenty to do, he raced into the area and swept a left foot shot low into Lloris's far corner, eclipsing Robbie Fowler's record of 28 goals in a Premier League season for Liverpool in the process.

There was no let-up in the tempo of the Liverpool display or the demands on them. Rodgers berated Coutinho for hugging the touchline when he was under instruction to play centrally. The reason why was underlined later on when the Brazilian scored an excellent third. Simon Mignolet started the move from his goal, Flanagan ventured into the Spurs' half unchallenged and squared to Coutinho, who sent a precise finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Henderson skied a glorious chance over from Sterling's pass and it needed an instinctive save from Lloris to prevent Sturridge scoring with an impudent back-heel. The inevitable fourth arrived when Henderson whipped over a free-kick from the left that sailed through Suárez's legs and into the far corner. "Now you're gonna believe us," has not sounded this convincing at Anfield for over two decades.

There is momentum behind Liverpool, a frenzied expectation around the club similar to the triumphant Champions League run of 2005, and history. The similarities between Rodgers' transformation and Bill Shankly's first title-winning campaign of 1963-64 are uncanny. In Suárez and Sturridge, Liverpool have two players to score 20 league goals or more in a season for the first time since Ian St John and Roger Hunt 50 years ago. Shankly's championship breakthrough also featured 1-0 and 3-0 wins over Manchester United and, on this day half a century ago, Liverpool beat Tottenham at Anfield to go top of the table. First place was not relinquished and Liverpool claimed their first title in 17 years. They look in the mood to do likewise this spring.

Man of the match Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)