Kane, Lloris and Vertonghen get 9/10 as Tottenham rout Liverpool
Normal home service has been resumed. Helped by a Liverpool team intent on playing attacking football, Tottenham were back to their fluent best for the first time all season at Wembley.
Spurs took the lead inside five minutes, when Harry Kane took advantage of some hesitancy inside the Liverpool defence and went 2-0 up midway through the first half, when Heung-Min Son side-footed home Kane's inch-perfect cross. Liverpool came back into the game and pulled one back, but Dele Alli's volley moments before the break effectively killed off the game. Kane added a fourth early in the second half, and thereafter both sides were playing for the final whistle.
Beating a side as talented as Liverpool 4-1 is about as good as it gets for any team. Kane will once again get most of the plaudits for his lethal finishing, but the back three of Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen had to be at the top of their game to contain a skilful Liverpool attack. Above all, though, this was a team victory in which everyone played his part.
There will be a few anxious faces in the treatment room after Kane pulled up lame late in the game. He seemed to be walking quite freely as he left the field, though, so he will hopefully be fit for next Saturday's trip to Old Trafford.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Mauricio Pochettino pulled another trick out of the bag by playing Serge Aurier at left-back ahead of Ben Davies. The thinking was to use Aurier's speed to contain the menace of Liverpool's pacey winger Mohammed Salah. For periods in the first half, it looked as if the gamble might not pay off as Aurier was frequently caught out of position. But the half-time talk did wonders: Aurier stuck much closer to Salah in the second half, and Liverpool rarely threatened. Pochettino set Spurs up to play on the counter, and they did so to telling effect.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Hugo Lloris, 9 -- One second-half stop -- a diving tip onto the woodwork -- must go down as one of the saves of the season. It brought everyone in Wembley to their feet. It was also his quick throw that led to Spurs' second goal.
DF Kieran Trippier, 8 -- By far his best game for Spurs this season. Gave Liverpool little freedom down their left flank and pressed forward intelligently. His crossing was also much improved.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 8 -- Yet another utterly commanding display. Didn't put a foot wrong all game against a lively Liverpool attack. With Sanchez and Vertonghen, he helps form the best back three in the Premier league.
DF Davinson Sanchez, 8 -- Is now settling in nicely at the heart of the back three, and his ability to read the game is improving steadily. No longer so prone to rash challenges and chooses the right time to make a tackle.
DF Jan Vertonghen, 9 -- A flawless performance. Made several key interceptions when Spurs were under pressure in the first half. Came close to scoring his first goal of the season when his shot was blocked on the line.
DF Serge Aurier, 7 -- Was too often caught out of position during a hectic first half. But tightened up on his defensive duties in the second 45 minutes and also made some telling runs forward down the left.
MF Harry Winks, 8 -- With Eric Dier on the bench, Winks had to take care of most of the defensive midfield duties, which he did with considerable panache. Always looks to have time on the ball, and his passing is generally pinpoint accurate.
MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Not at his very best and tended to drift out of the game for long spells but was still able to make his class tell at key moments. Made several world-class passes but was also too often caught in possession in his own half.
MF Heung-Min Son, 8 -- An exquisite left-foot finish to put Spurs two goals up. Came close to doubling his tally within 15 minutes when a great run into the box ended with him hitting the bar with Simon Mignolet well-beaten. Faded a bit in the second half.
MF Dele Alli, 8 -- Played a much deeper role than usual, but popped up with a beautiful finish in first-half injury time to put the game beyond Liverpool's reach. Came into the game in the second half. He looks to be back to somewhere near his best.
FW Harry Kane, 9 -- Yet another two-goal afternoon. The Liverpool defence looked terrified every time Kane got anywhere near the ball, and the striker took full toll of their hesitancy. Also used his strength to work tirelessly down the channels. A striker in the form of his life.
MF Moussa Sissoko, N/R -- Brought on with 20 minutes to go for Son. Made several driving runs, but his final ball still tends to be too often misplaced. But he is steadily improving. A confident Sissoko would be a real asset.
MF Eric Dier, N/R -- Late replacement for Eriksen as Spurs sought to wind down the clock.
FW Fernando Llorente, NR -- Got three minutes game time after Kane pulled up. No time to make an impression.
John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.