This has been a season in which Brendan Rodgers has shown that far from being a rigid idealist he is a manager willing to change his team's lineup and shape on a regular basis. Here he ditched the four-man diamond midfield containing Joe Allen which has served Liverpool well in recent weeks and returned to a 4-3-3 formation, which gave the home side far greater width.
It proved a wise decision inside two minutes as Raheem Sterling, who came in for Allen and was stationed on the right flank, played an outside pass to Glen Johnson whose cross led to Younès Kaboul's own goal. It was from the far left that Luis Suárez struck to make it 2-0 – and secure a remarkable 29th goal of the season – as in general, Spurs were stretched and strained by a Liverpool side who are clearly capable of winning in a variety of ways.
Tim Sherwood made one change to the Tottenham team that beat Southampton 3-2 last week, bringing Gylfi Sigurdsson, who got Spurs' late winner that day, in for Mousa Dembélé. The Iceland international had the chance to join Liverpool from Swansea in the summer of 2012 prior to opting for Spurs. The decision made sense at the time but two years on Tottenham and Sigurdsson find themselves in a state of uncertainty while Liverpool are soaring. Here the 24-year-old laboured in a central-midfield position, barely able to get close to the buzzing, confidence-brimming players in red around him, and as he chased shadows Sigurdsson may well have mused on what could have been.
Having failed to sign Sigurdsson, Rodgers went on to capture Philippe Coutinho from Internazionale in January 2013 and here was another afternoon in which the Brazilian showed his worth in a red shirt. Initially positioned on the left of a three-man midfield, the 21-year-old had licence to roam and showed what a wonderfully creative player he is as early as the 12th minute with a sumptuous through pass to Jordan Henderson which the midfielder just failed to get under control.
Coutinho's crowning moment, however, came in the 55th minute when, again lurking in a pocket of space, he picked up Jon Flanagan's pass, scampered forward and drilled a shot past Hugo Lloris for his fourth goal of the season. It is a surprisingly low return for a player of Coutinho's ability and suggests he lacks the potency to be a conventional No10, but his threat is undeniable and he seems a perfect fit for this most captivating of Liverpool sides.
It would be easy to say that this was an afternoon to forget for Spurs but that may be difficult for those who played in white and blue as the nightmares of an afternoon during which they were torn to shreds continue to haunt them. One small positive was the performance of Roberto Soldado, who despite being horribly isolated as a lone striker, worked hard throughout and arguably had Spurs' best chance of the game with a first-half shot from inside the area that forced Simon Mignolet into a diving save.
Early in the second half he also harried Daniel Agger into an error that, for a moment, appeared to offer Spurs a glimmer of an opening. This has not been a great debut season for the Spaniard – and he was carried off on a stretcher in the dying moments after landing awkwardly – but with 11 goals to his name and the capacity to improve, Soldado could yet prove a wise (if over-priced) acquisition for the London club.
Whatever Liverpool go on to achieve this season there is no doubt their supporters believe the good times are on the way back. The team have been a constant source of pride and excitement and, in return, those who fill this venue on a regular basis have shown their backing in increasingly fervent fashion.
This was the second game in succession in which fans welcomed the team coach into the stadium with a corridor of roars and it was just like the old days thereafter, with the Kop awash with flags and banners prior to kick-off and a source of songs and cries of approval once play, and the goals, were under way. After years of rancour, Anfield is undeniably a happy place again.