London: Liverpool beat Tottenham in a thrilling 3-2 victory at Anfield with captain Steven Gerrard netting a late penalty as the hosts fought back from a Jan Vertonghen double in a pulsating Premier League encounter.
The hosts were rewarded for their committed early attacking when Jose Enrique fed Suarez to coolly slot home on 20 minutes, but Spurs responded on the stroke of the interval with Gareth Bale crossing for Jan Vertonghen to power home a header.
The Belgian scored again early in the second half to hand his side the lead, but Kyle Walker`s bizarre back-pass left Hugo Lloris horribly exposed with Downing on hand to steal in to level the match and Gerrard sealed the win from the spot with nine minutes left.
Brendan Rodgers` side had the better opening with the first decent chance coming after six minutes; Philippe Coutinho put Daniel Sturridge clean through but his first touch was heavy in going around Hugo Lloris and the opportunity passed.
Spurs began to grow into the game with Mousa Dembele winning a free kick with fine dribbling after 11 minutes, and Bale`s swerving effort forcing goalkeeper Brad Jones - in for the injured Pepe Reina - to shovel the ball away.
Shots were at a premium but once again Suarez proved his worth to Liverpool with a deadly finish after 20 minutes. Wonderful work from Coutinho and Jose Enrique led to the Spaniard laying Suarez through, and the striker clinically toe-poked beneath the onrushing Lloris into the near corner to give the hosts the lead.
Bale and Suarez`s form this season led to them being singled out for strong treatment throughout, with Steven Gerrard cautioned for a full-blooded aerial challenge on the winger - but the Welshman had the last laugh on the stroke of half-time.
The following free kick resulted in a prolonged spell of Spurs possession, and the in-form forward curled in a delightful cross from the right wing that Vertonghen confidently glanced into the bottom right-hand corner at the back post.
The Belgian defender proved his goalscoring form again eight minutes after the restart with an impudent half-volley to give Spurs the lead. Bale once again won and delivered a free kick which Jamie Carragher failed to clear, and Vertonghen struck home brilliantly from 10 yards.
Four minutes later the visitors could have had a third but for the post - Bale outpaced the Liverpool back line from the halfway line and found Sigurdsson at the back post, but his shot deflected off of Glen Johnson onto the woodwork.
That missed proved costly as Walker inexplicably played a high back-pass from the right wing which curled away from Lloris, who raced from him line but couldn`t control the ball as Downing nipped in to slot between the legs of Vertonghen with 25 minutes to go.
Both sides searched for a winner but Spurs` tiredness told as Defoe redirected the ball into Suarez`s path in the box, causing Assou-Ekotto to bundle the forward over and allow Gerrard to send Lloris the wrong way for all three points.
First Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013, 23:45