Liverpool hits, Balotelli misses

Sep 01 2014, 08:10 IST
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SummaryLiverpool's speedy attacking unit produced a 3-0 victory at Tottenham though Mario Balotelli failed to make a goal-scoring return...

Liverpoolís speedy attacking unit produced a 3-0 victory at Tottenham on Sunday though Mario Balotelli failed to make a goal-scoring return to the Premier League. The match was Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgersís 100th game in charge.

While the former Manchester City strikerís finishing was wayward, dazzling forward Raheem Sterling netted the opener inside eight minutes, captain Steven Gerrard scored from a penalty at the start of the second half and defender Alberto Moreno opened his account for Liverpool. The dismantling of Tottenham was the perfect response by last seasonís runners-up to losing at Manchester City in the previous game, reasserting their threat without Luis Suarez. For Mauricio Pochettino, who had opened his Tottenham reign with a pair of victories in both the Premier League and Europa League, the collapse showed the size of the gulf that still exists between the London club and its elite rivals.

Tottenham hadnít even conceded a goal in its opening wins over West Ham and Queens Park Rangers, but Hugo Llorisí goal was under siege from the start by Liverpool. Balotelli was signed from AC Milan for 16 million pounds ($26.5 million) on Monday to fill the void up front left by Suarezís departure to Barcelona. But the Italy striker was never as menacing at White Hart Lane as Suarez who scored twice in Liverpoolís 5-0 win here last season.

lost opportunities

Presented with an opening in the 2nd minute, Balotelliís header was parried by Lloris but he couldnít get the follow-up effort on target. Instead a trio of English players combined for the opener six minutes later.

Jordan Henderson seized possession on the halfway line and released Daniel Sturridge to launch a counterattack down the right flank before the ball was returned to the midfielder. Henderson then squared to Sterling, who was left unmarked by Eric Dier and Younes Kaboul to tap the ball into the net.

It could have been 2-0 in the 11th minute when Sterling played in Sturridge though the center but the strikerís effort was wide. Another attempt from Sturridge, after being played in by Balotelliís backheel, was thwarted by Llorisí diving save. And when Lloris was stranded outside the area, Balotelli tried his luck from distance but completely missed the net.

How costly Tottenhamís own miss just before half time proved to be. A defensive mix-up presented Nacer Chadli with an opening but he stabbed the ball straight at goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Then, four minutes

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