Liverpool went top of the Premier League after brushing aside Tottenham 4-0 at Anfield to further underline their title credentials.
After rivals Chelsea and Manchester City both dropped points on Saturday, the pressure was on Brendan Rodgers' side to take advantage and Liverpool did just that on Sunday as Tottenham displayed further evidence of their defensive frailties in a defeat that leaves their European ambitions in serious doubt.
Younes Kaboul's early own goal and Luis Suarez's 29th Premier League strike of the season - surpassing Robbie Fowler's club record of 28 set in 1995-96 - put the home side in control at the break before Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson completed the scoring in the second half.
The win earned hosts Liverpool an eighth straight league victory and sent them two points clear of Chelsea at the summit, while Tottenham remain sixth, four points behind Everton.
Rodgers called for cool heads in the build-up to the game and any nerves must have been eased immediately as Kaboul turned Glen Johnson's cross into his own net from close range.
Michael Dawson - on in place of Jan Vertonghen - made a costly error immediately after being introduced, Suarez taking advantage of his poor pass before firing low beyond Hugo Lloris.
Coutinho added Liverpool's third goal with a low finish before Henderson's whipped free-kick evaded everyone and flew into the far corner.
Tottenham showed little in the way of attacking threat, but it will be their basic defensive errors that will have head coach Tim Sherwood most concerned. After glaring mistakes in recent games with Southampton and Chelsea, it was a familiar story for Spurs and Liverpool ruthlessly exposed their deficiencies in extending their unbeaten league run to 13 matches.
Liverpool got off to a flying start, taking the lead through Kaboul's own goal in the second minute.
Johnson sent in a low cross from the right and, after a slight deflection off Vertonghen, the Frenchman got his feet in a tangle and diverted the ball into the net from inside the six-yard box.
The visitors suffered a further setback midway through the half when they lost Vertonghen through injury, and his replacement Dawson's mistake led to Liverpool's second.
In trying to lay the ball off to Kaboul, Dawson's errant pass allowed Suarez to get the better of the centre-half before racing clear and finishing across Lloris into the bottom right-hand corner.
Spurs responded brightly, Martin Skrtel blocking Christian Eriksen's effort before Simon Mignolet denied Roberto Soldado's curler.
Another Tottenham mistake almost put the game beyond doubt a minute later, Suarez seeing his back-post header brilliantly tipped onto the bar by Lloris after Kaboul had squandered possession to Raheem Sterling.
Liverpool were similarly wasteful in the 54th minute, Henderson failing to hit the target from 14 yards with just a defender on the line to beat.
But Coutinho's goal rendered that miss irrelevant a minute later, the Brazilian firing past Lloris from 25 yards after advancing into space.
Lloris kept out Daniel Sturridge's impudent backheel after yet more hesitancy in the Spurs' backline, but Henderson's set-piece rounded off the scoring as Liverpool moved a step closer to a first league title since 1990.
|Coach: B. Rodgers|
for Philippe Coutinho 64'
for S. Gerrard 70'
for R. Sterling 83'
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