Our unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign came to end at the Lane on Sunday afternoon as Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners.
An early first-half goal from Raheem Sterling put the visitors in front, before a Steven Gerrard penalty four minutes into the second period and a fine effort from Alberto Moreno on the hour mark sealed our fate.
Head Coach Mauricio Pochettino kept faith with the starting XI that beat QPR here seven days ago and there was a magnificent atmosphere inside the Lane at kick-off.
Much of the pre-match build-up centred around Liverpool’s new signing Mario Balotelli and it took just three minutes for him to figure in the game’s first chance. Sterling found space on the left and delivered an inviting cross which the Italian striker headed goalwards from six yards out, only for Hugo Lloris to deny him with a superb save and Balotelli could only bundle the rebound wide.
The visitors made a bright start to the contest and were ahead after eight minutes when Daniel Sturridge got away down the left and laid a ball inside to Jordan Henderson breaking forward. He delivered a low cross to the far post which found Sterling who tucked it into the net just out of Lloris’s reach.
Within a minute we were almost level as Emmanuel Adebayor latched onto Nabil Bentaleb’s ball over the top but got too much purchase on his attempted lob over Simon Mignolet and it cleared the crossbar.
It was end-to-end stuff with Balotelli heading wide at the far post, before Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen linked up down our left, Rose cutting inside to receive the Dane’s pass but blasting a right-foot shot well wide.
On the half hour mark, a clever Balotelli back-heel found Sturridge, but Lloris was equal to his 20-yard curling effort. Just seconds later, our French keeper came rushing from his line to clear the danger from Sterling but only found Balotelli, about 40 yards out with the goal at his mercy, only for the striker to scuff his shot well wide.
Our best chance of the half came two minutes before the interval when Younes Kaboul clipped a ball forwards for Adebayor, who missed his header under pressure from Dejan Lovren. The ball ran straight through for Nacer Chadli bursting clear centrally on goal 18 yards out but Mignolet produced a superb save to keep out his half volley and we went in behind at the break.
Unfortunately though, just four minutes into the second half Liverpool doubled their lead from the penalty spot. Joe Allen went past Eric Dier in the area and as our right-back stuck out an arm, the Liverpool man fell to the floor and referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot. Gerrard stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left, Lloris going the right way but unable to keep the ball out.
It was fairly frantic football from both sides and, after Dier had sent a near post header well over from Lamela’s free-kick, our Argentine midfielder then tricked his way to the byline down the left and drilled over a low cross which was cut out as Adebayor waited to pounce.
We made two substitutions on 58 minutes, bringing on Andros Townsend and Mousa Dembele for Eriksen and Bentaleb, but a minute later the visitors scored again. Townsend was dispossessed by Alberto Moreno five yards inside the Liverpool half and the defender burst down the left, into the area and arrowed a drive into the bottom corner past Lloris.
Lloris then had to scramble a Sturridge effort away on 66 minutes and Lovren headed over from a Gerrard corner, while at the other end, Adebayor had a brief sight of goal but could only head over from Dier’s centre.
Sterling really should have scored on 70 minutes as he picked up possession on the left-hand edge of our area, dribbled his way across the box until he only had Lloris to beat six yards out, but then just scuffed his shot straight to the keeper.
With a three-goal lead to defend, the visitors kept men behind the ball to restrict any space for us going forwards and we found it tough to break down their defence, limited to just a couple of half-chances in the closing minutes.
We had shouts for a late penalty waved away when Lovren challenged Adebayor in the area, but there was to be no goal on what was a difficult afternoon.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose (Davies 72); Capoue, Bentaleb (Dembele 58); Chadli, Eriksen (Townsend 58), Lamela, Adebayor. Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Chiriches, Holtby, Kane.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet, Moreno, Sakho, Lovren, Manquillo; Allen (Can 61), Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling (Enrique 86), Sturridge, Balotelli (Markovic 61). Substitutes (not used): Jones, Toure, Coutinho, Lambert.
Goals: Liverpool – Sterling 8, Gerrard penalty 49, Moreno 60.
Yellows: Liverpool – Allen, Manquillo, Sterling.
Referee: Mr P Dowd.