A combination of Edgar Davids, Jermain Defoe and Jermain Jenas caught Liverpool on the hop just after the hour mark and the home side were effectively carved open. All that was needed was the finish, but Jenas' effort drifted the wrong side of the post from in front of goal.
Retribution was swift. Rafa Benitez's side went up the Kop end and scored - adding another ten minutes later. The pain was three-fold when a gloss was put on the scoreline in the final minute.
Defeat was not particularly deserved and, not for the first time this season, the team have not gathered the reward performances have warranted. The home side did have the better of the second half, but the first was pretty even in patches and fairly absorbing. For periods the men in white were having the better of the occasion.
Defoe was on from the off alongside Robbie Keane in an otherwise unchanged team. Liverpool made three changes, but retained the striking partnership of Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy for the fourth game in a row.
With yet another sell-out away match following behind them, it was Defoe and Keane who got proceedings underway on a breezy afternoon in the north west. It wasn't long before two friends were involved in a heavy collision, with Sami Hyypia clattering into Teemu Tainio. Shortly afterwards, Daniel Agger misjudged a long clearance from Paul Robinson and it took Hyypia to mop up in front of the predatory Defoe.
Robbo was forced to scamper across his line a little anxiously when, from a long throw headed away by Ledley King, Xabi Alonso tried his luck with a low volley that cleared a crowd of players and went just wide with England's No.1 unsighted.
There was some superb approach play on 17 minutes when Jenas and Danny Murphy linked up, leading to the former Liverpool man dissecting the home defences with a pass that Keane could not quite find the route of. At the other end, John Arne Riise tried his luck from 35 yards with the ball veering away from Robbo's left-hand upright.
There was a real chance to open the scoring in front of the Kop after 25 minutes when a Murphy free-kick from the right arrived on the head of King, who stole in unmarked six yards out, but the connection was not a true one and the ball ended up going wide with Jose Reina motionless on his line.
Liverpool were far from having this their own way and, as the first half moved on, it was the men in white displaying the more progressive football and there was a hint of frustration in the home support.
Jenas did well to clear his lines ten minutes before the break when there was an almighty scramble following a corner, before Anfield hissed into life when Steven Gerrard's shot struck the arm of King. Referee Mr Webb waved play on.
Tainio then drilled in a power drive that was blocked after a mazy run by Didier Zokora down the left flank.
The minute before half time saw plenty of action, with Murphy first playing Defoe through on Reina - the keeper getting there first - before Robinson saved brilliantly to his left to deny Bellamy a goal at the other end.
Liverpool pressed early in the second period and two low crosses flashed across our goal seven minutes in with Kuyt attempting to pose a threat from the right flank. It was certainly the home team asking the questions with applying any punishment.
Martin made his first change on the hour with Tainio making was for Edgar Davids, with Murphy switching to the left.
Almost straight away we should have gone ahead. Davids broke away and swapped passes with Defoe before darting down the left of the Liverpool area and supplying a ball for the on rushing Jenas to connect with. Jenas did connect, but his attempt on goal rolled agonisingly wide.
Liverpool went up the other end and went in front after 62 minutes. Gerrard burst along the right side of the penalty area and swept the ball across to where Bellamy was waiting to apply the finish. Like Jenas, he missed, but did hit the post and the rebound fell kindly for Mark Gonzalez to fire back into the net.
The reds celebrated and Spurs people were left wondering what might have been.
The lead was doubled ten minutes later when sub Luis Garcia chipped in a little throughball that split our defence and Kuyt was on hand to add on a thumping finish past Robinson.
On 89 minutes Riise picked up the ball and advanced forward. Not closed down quickly the full-back took aim and rocketed the ball past Robinson and into the net.
It inflicted a 3-0 defeat that did not reflect the overall picture of the game.
Liverpool took the points in the lunchtime kick-off at Anfield with three second half goals coming after the lead was so nearly snatched at the other end.