Luis Suarez extended his hot scoring run with a double on Sunday as Liverpool overwhelmed 10-man Tottenham 5-0 on Sunday to go within two points of the Premier League summit.
Suarez took his tally to eight goals in three games and helped to set up the other three goals by Jordan Henderson, Jon Flanagan and Raheem Sterling on the day he captained Liverpool for the first time.
Assuming the armband from the injured Steven Gerrard indicated that Suarez has fully completed his rehabilitation from bans for racist abuse and biting, and antagonizing fans by pushing for a transfer during the summer.
Suarez may well be relieved that Liverpool wouldn't sanction the move to Arsenal, with the London club now only a place and two points ahead at the top of the standings.
Suarez has 17 goals in a season that only began in late September as he completed the 10-game biting ban.
Such potency in just 11 games contrasts with Tottenham's ineptitude in front of goal. Tottenham has scored only 15 times in 15 league games and couldn't even muster a shot on target against the second-place visitors.
As Tottenham struggled to cope with the speed and intensity of Liverpool's attack, Suarez took just 17 minutes to open the scoring.
Henderson volleyed in another before halftime, following up after Suarez was denied by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Any hopes of a Tottenham comeback were thwarted by Paulinho being sent off in the 63rd for sinking his boots into Suarez's ribs.
Suarez then setup Flanagan for Liverpool's third, found the net again himself in the 84th, and fed the ball for Sterling to complete the rout five minutes later.
The collapse, having lost 6-0 at Manchester City last month, left Tottenham in seventh place, seven points from the fourth Champions League place.