Twice he failed to covert headers when unmarked before firing way off target when presented with an empty net from 40 yards by a poor Hugo Lloris clearance. But ultimately it did not matter as Sterling got Liverpool off to a flyer when he coolly tucked home at the far post after lovely combination play between Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Nacer Chadli had chances to level for the hosts who then saw their hopes all-but ended when Eric Dier tugged back Joe Allen just after the restart. Steven Gerrard stepped up to coolly convert the spot-kick and the Reds sealed the victory on the hour when their new left-back Alberto Moreno raced from his own half to drill a splendid low finish in off the post.
For Spurs it was another horror show against Liverpool who could have easily repeated last season's 5-0 masterclass at White Hart Lane with Sterling and Sturridge going close to adding to their margin of victory late on.
Mario Balotelli of Liverpool heads the ball under pressure from Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen of Spurs during the …
PRE-MATCH - BALOTELLI STARTS. Rodgers answers the big question being asked in the run up to the game by throwing the Italian straight in. The Reds make three changes from the team that lost at Man City with Javi Manquillo and Mamadou Sakho coming in for injured pair, Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel. Balotelli replaces Philippe Coutinho. As for Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino sticks with the XI that put QPR to the sword, with Emmanuel Adebayor leading the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
3' - BALOTELLI CHANCE! He should score! Sturridge clips a lovely ball in from the left and picks out Mario who forces the save out of Hugo Lloris with a downward header. Either side of the keeper and that was 1-0.
8' - SPURS 0-1 LIVERPOOL: Sterling arrives at the far post to squeeze home a low shot after lovely combination down the right from Sturridge and Henderson. The latter teases a low ball across the six-yard box and the 19-year-old does the rest.
9' - SPURS CHANCE: It should be 1-1. Adebayor races clear of a static Liverpool rearguard to latch onto Betaleb's pass but loops his lob wide of the post.
31' - ANOTHER CHANCE FOR MARIO! Balotelli turns and plays a fine ball through for Sterling. Lloris races out of his goal but clears straight to the Italian who gets his 40-yarder towards an empty net all wrong, much to the delight of the Spurs fans.
42' - GREAT SAVE! Chadli wanders onto a long ball over the top that both Liverpool centre-backs miss and smashes a shot straight at Mignolet. The Reds keeper pushes it over the top, but he should be scoring there. Woeful defending by Sakho and Lovren who each went up for it with Adebayor.
49' - SPURS 0-2 LIVERPOOL: Gerrard steps up and drills a low shot into Lloris' bottom right-hand corner after Allen was pulled down by Dier. The Spurs stopper got fingers to the resulting kick, but it was well struck and the Reds double their lead.
60' - SPURS 0-3 LIVERPOOL: Moreno wins the ball in his own half off Townsend, who has a nightmare first touch, and rampages towards goal. The Spaniard surges into the box and drills a low shot in off the far post.
71' - LIVERPOOL CHANCE: Sterling slaloms past three Spurs defenders to go one-on-one with Lloris, but then stabs a weak toe-poke straight at the keeper. It should be four.
Liverpool sans pitié à White Hart Lane pour Tottenham.
Liverpool have now won four in a row against Tottenham.
This was Brendan Rodgers' 100 match as Liverpool manager. He has won 56 times with the Reds scoring 214 goals.
Liverpool's starting XI had an average age of 24 years, 211 days. It is the youngest named by Brendan Rodgers in his time as the Reds manager.
Mario Balotelli had five shots in the first half. Only four players have managed more in a PL game this season.
(Stats courtesy of Opta and Infostrada)
Sterling outshines bright Balotelli debut. All eyes were on the enigmatic Italian and despite missing some good opportunities he made a positive start to life in a Liverpool shirt. However, it was 19-year-old Sterling who stole the headlines as he opened the scoring and terrorised the Spurs defence throughout. Expect the England winger to build on last season's impressive showings.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Raheem Sterling (Liverpool): An exhilarating display of pace and skill. Grabbed the all-important opener and linked well with Balotelli and Sturridge to suggest there is very much life after Luis Suarez.
Tottenham: Lloris 6, Dier 5, Kaboul 6, Vertonghen 6, Rose 5, Bentaleb 6, Capoue 6, Chadli 6, Eriksen 5, Lamela 5, Adebayor 5. Subs: Townsend 5, Dembele 6, Davies 6.
Liverpool: Mignolet 6, Manquillo 6, Moreno 7, Lovren 7, Sakho 6, Gerrard 7, Allen 7, Henderson 6, Sterling 8, Sturridge 7, Balotelli 6. Subs: Can 6, Markovic 5, Enrique n/a.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Mario Balotelli
- Raheem Sterling
- Hugo Lloris
- Daniel Sturridge
- Emmanuel Adebayor
- Steven Gerrard
- Mamadou Sakho
- Nacer Chadli