After being touched by the hand of God, Harry Kane was at his superhuman best. There were two more goals from the Tottenham Hotspur striker as he destroyed a Liverpool defence that was simply desperate. They were Kaned and should be caned after this.
At half-time Diego Maradona, here as a guest, held aloft a Kane No10 shirt, playing to the crowd, but it is the kind of moment that will motivate the England forward even more. Kane wants worldwide recognition and world-class status and it was interesting that the Spurs manager, Mauricio Pochettino, introduced Kane to Maradona prior to kick off.
“It was difficult to let [Maradona] go,” Pochettino said of his compatriot, hailing him as “the best player ever” while Liverpool never got close to Kane who ran at them time and again. It was a mismatch.
Before Maradona’s show of that Lillywhite shirt, Liverpool raised the white flag. It is hard to recall such a shambolic, insipid, chaotic defensive display as the one they delivered in a first-half that reaped three goals for Spurs - it could have been five - before they made a gift of another inside the hour.
Spurs were rampant; Liverpool were rank, at least defensively so. They threatened going forward, through the tireless Mohamed Salah, and there were a couple of outstanding saves from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, but that means nothing when they are so appalling at the back.
Parking the bus? That is not Jürgen Klopp’s way but the Liverpool manager threw his defender Dejan Lovren under the bus by taking the hapless centre-half off just after the half-hour. By then Lovren had been beaten as Kane bullied the Liverpool defence. It was a man against boys.
Kane’s goals mean that only another Argentinian, a certain Lionel Messi (with 46 goals), has scored more in all competitions in 2017 than the England striker who has 38, equal with Edinson Cavani (before Paris Saint-Germain kicked off on Saturday night). It is 17 in 13 matches for club and country for Kane, 13 for Spurs and when he was substituted there was a standing ovation and also a concerned check from Pochettino as the forward had felt the back of his leg before he went off although he was later said to be simply tired.
While Liverpool will be having nightmares after this, Spurs will believe they have banished their own demons with a thumping home win at Wembley in the Premier League against one of the other ‘Big Six’. It capped a wonderful week after the impressive Champions League draw with Real Madrid, drew them level with Manchester United in second place and, right now, they look the likeliest contender to push leaders, Manchester City. Incredibly, after just nine matches, Liverpool are 12 points off the top.
Spurs sensed their weakness. They had lined up in a 5-3-2 formation, conscious of the threat of Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate, the pace of Salah in particular, but broke quickly with Son Heung-min partnering Kane in attack and Dele Alli far more effective running from deeper in midfield.
Not that, in front of the biggest-ever crowd for a Premier League match, 80,827, they had to work particularly hard for their goals. Less than four minutes had elapsed when Kieran Trippier chipped the ball forward, after combining with Christian Eriksen and Son from a throw-in. Lovren inexplicably lost Kane, who ran between him and Joel Matip before lifting the ball past Simon Mignolet who had unnecessarily rushed from his goal. Kane was clipped but steadied himself to shoot into the unguarded net. Then, horribly, Lovren blundered again as he woefully misjudged a long throw from Lloris allowing Kane to run free down the right and the striker sprinted on and crossed low for Son who superbly guided his first-time shot past Mignolet.
It was a car-crash for Liverpool and they were caught out again when Son ran on to Eriksen’s through ball, which arced between Lovren and Matip, for the forward to thump a right-foot shot that struck the underside of the cross-bar and bounced out.
A lifeline came for a drowning Liverpool, though, when Kane smartly turned Emre Can and ran from his own half. Liverpool players swarmed around him, Kane went down – Pochettino claimed a foul - and Jordan Henderson angled the ball forward. It deflected off Alli’s head and went between Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier for Salah to run on to and steer a low shot across Lloris.
Would that change the dynamic? Instead Alli slid a clever pass beyond Lovren for Son who, clear on goal, saw his shot blocked by Mignolet with an outstretched left leg. Klopp had seen enough. Off came Lovren. The manager later said he could have substituted other defenders but it was Lovren who suffered the humiliation.
But Liverpool did not improve. On the stroke of half-time Can brought down Alli and Eriksen’s free-kick was headed out by Matip, as he back-pedalled, but only to the edge of his own area. It was met by Alli - as Can stood watching – and he volleyed past Mignolet.
The goalkeeper could do little, maybe, then but was guilty again when he inexplicably flapped at a free-kick, punching it for no reason when there was no Spurs player close and delivering it straight to Vertonghen whose shot was cleared off the line by Roberto Firmino but only to Kane. And we all know what happens next. Another goal.
So it was over despite two fine saves by Lloris, the first one outstanding, when the captain denied Philippe Coutinho with a brilliant one-handed save, at full-stretch, pushing the Brazilian’s left-foot shot onto the cross-bar. He then kicked away Salah’s low shot. Lloris had also met Maradona – who had grabbed Kane in a bear hug. And Liverpool were smothered.
What a time to be a Spurs fan
That United v Spurs match next week really is so exciting (or at least it is until you remember that Mourinho will be managing one of the team) and the way the two sides are playing at the moment, Tottenham should have the confidence to go there and get a win.
Once again they were outstanding today, with the English trio of Kane, Winks and Alli all superb. Pochettino's back five were also excellent and largely restricted Liverpool to hopeful crosses that were meat and drink for Vertonghen et al.
For Liverpool, it was another defensive horror show, with the hapless Lovren hooked after a half-hour nightmare where he was culpable for both of Tottenham's opening two goals. Klopp can bristle all he likes at criticism of his team's defenders, but he desperately needs to sort it out quickly because they have just one win in six league matches and are three points off the top five already.
That's it, Tottenham move level on points with second-placed Manchester United after a comprehensive 4-1 win. Excitingly, those two meet at Old Trafford next Saturday. Manchester City are five points clear at the top incidentally.
Liverpool drop to ninth after a first defeat to Spurs since 2012.
Liverpool fans heading for the exits, as the fourth official signals two minutes of added time.
Kane appeared to say "cramp" to Pochettino as he went off, which would be a massive relief to Tottenham - especially with games against Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal coming up in the next few weeks.
Oh dear, this is the sight all Spurs fans have nightmares about. Kane is limping off with what looks like a hamstring problem. It doesn't appear to be that serious, but even so anxious moments for Tottenham.
Llorente comes on to replace him.
Amazing stat from Sky Sports that Liverpool have conceded more away league goals in their five games this season than they did in the entirety of the 2008-09 season.
Also weirdly Liverpool have only conceded one league goal at home this campaign.
A very clumsy tackle from Sissoko ends with the Frenchman himself writhing in agony. He may have rolled an ankle doing that, but looks to be ok.
Klopp makes his final change - Can off for Grujic. It looks as if Milner will drop into the right-back position.
That is absolutely filthy from Alli. He's completely done Can with a drag-back and nutmeg right by the touchline. What a piece of skill that was. Poch then looks to sure things up by bringing Dier on for Eriksen.
Lloris denies Liverpool again. This time it's Salah who screams in frustration, as his low shot from about 10 yards is blocked by the keeper's feet.
The game's slipping away from Liverpool, but Sturridge is on to replace Firmino.
Blimey, Liverpool have conceded more goals (15) in Premier League away matches than any other side this season.
Coutinho catches one really nicely from 25 yards out, but again Lloris is equal to it and holds onto the shot.
Another smart stop from Lloris to deny Milner's near-post effort. Loverly flick from Salah to create the chance.
Klopp looks decidedly fed up, but really this kind of defensive implosion can't come as a surprise to him anymore can it?
Spurs change - Son off for Sissoko.
What a save that is from Lloris, like something from a computer game. Coutinho thinks his left-footed curler from the edge of the box is heading for the top corner, but Lloris flings himself to his left and paws the ball away with his left hand. Moments later he makes a more regulation stop from a low Moreno effort.
Incredible from Kane again, as he flies past a couple of Liverpool defenders and gets a shot away that's heading for the corner before Gomez gets the block in. Poch isn't going to take him off again with a hat-trick in sight is he?
Incidentally, the game's attendance is 80,827 - a Premier League record.
Eriksen blazes an effort high and wide after Trippier's corner had landed at him at the edge of the box.
But by the same token, Kane and Spurs are just brilliant. They've been relentless again today, just four days after that brilliant draw at the Bernabeu.
It really is amazing how bad Liverpool are at the back. What was Mignolet doing there?! He got nowhere near to making a proper connection.
GOAL! Tottenham 4 Liverpool 1 (Kane 56')
My word, Liverpool are just so inept defensively it's staggering. Trippier's free-kick from the right is flapped at by Mignolet, and after Vertonghen's shot is blocked there's Kane to poke home his second of the game.
Oxlade-Chamberlain again does well down the left to fly past Trippier and stand up a back-post cross. Salah can't get on the end of it though and another chance goes begging for Liverpool.
Kane heads Eriksen's corner wide, as Tottenham look to put the game beyond any doubt.
Good Liverpool pressure early on as first Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Moreno fire in dangerous crosses from the left. Tottenham's defenders though are equal to both.
We're back under way at Wembley. No changes for either side at the break.
That really was a crazy 45 minutes. Spurs created so many chances - helped in part by Liverpool's wretched defending - but were only 2-1 up heading into the interval after Salah pulled one back for Liverpool. Alli though capitalised on more poor defending right at the end of the half to restore Spurs' two-goal cushion.
Klopp will be raging at conceding the third goal, because Liverpool were looking dangerous at 2-1 and an equaliser would not have come as a big surprise.
As it is, they have it all to do in the second half.
A brilliant and breathless half comes to an end.
GOAL! Tottenham 3 Liverpool 1 (Alli 45+3')
Massive goal for Tottenham! Matip's headed clearance from Eriksen's free-kick lands perfectly for Alli, who volleys home from around the penalty spot. Not a brilliant connection, but it lands right in the corner beyond Mignolet.
Can is the first player to go into the book, for a cynical trip on Alli as the Spurs midfielder broke clear.
Two minutes of added-on time at the end of the first half.
Tottenham close to getting in behind Liverpool again, but Moreno does very well and gets across to block Eriksen's pass. Just before, Lloris came flying out of his goal and headed the ball away.
Real end to end stuff at Wembley.
Klopp punches the air after a big Milner tackle. Great to see.
Firmino again is close to a headed chance, but Tripper just gets there first to clear Milner's deep cross.
Kane wriggles away from Matip and works a yard for a shot, but he drags it wide of Mignolet's near post.
Really well-worked move involving Coutinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Moreno ends with a cross by the Spaniard that is just too high for Firmino. Liverpool posing a real threat now.
Salah gets away from a feeble Aurier challenge down the Liverpool right, but his low cross is claimed by Lloris.
What a first half-hour this has been! Spurs could be out of sight, as Lovren is replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain. The centre-back doesn't look injured so you can only assume that's a tactical switch. Big call from Klopp.
It looks as though Gomez will move from full-back to central defence, Can will go to right-back and Oxlade-Chamberlain will come on in central midfield.
Another huge chance for Son, whose toe-poked effort is blocked by Mignolet's feet after the striker had easily evaded Lovren with a run off the shoulder. Not enough conviction in that effort by Son.
Big change to the complexion of the game since that goal, and Salah has half a chance to equalise with a back-pose header from Coutinho's whipped cross. It was a very tough angle to be fair - similar to the one Salah scored against Leicester a few weeks ago, but even trickier.
GOAL! Tottenham 2 Liverpool 1 (Salah 24')
Out of nowhere, Liverpool are right back in it! Kane is hounded out of possession around the half-way line, and Henderson's pass deflects perfectly into Salah's path. Lloris questionably decides to stay on his line, and Salah scuffs an effort in off the post with his weaker right-foot. That shot was the opposite of those ones in the 'he's almost hit it too well' category.
Those early goals mean Spurs can sit back and try and spring Liverpool on the counter. It would really be no surprise if they sucker-punched them again before half-time, especially with Lovren in this kind of generous mood.
A shot for Liverpool at last, but Emre Can's effort is high and wide. It's a shot that is very much in the 'wheeeeeey' category.
This is just so good to watch from Spurs, who are being allowed to play champagne football by Liverpool's inept defenders. Kane flicks a wonderful pass to Son, and a two on two develops before Son's return pass is blocked by Matip.
Liverpool are on the rack here, and Spurs could be out of sight if they don't stabilise defensively.
So nearly 3-0, as Liverpool are cut to ribbons again. Trippier plays a quick free-kick to Eriksen, who picks out Son with a perfect clipped through ball. Son takes it beautifully but smashes his shot onto the crossbar. What a goal that would have been. Tottenham are so on it today, and Liverpool look shell-shocked.
Gary Neville is absolutely slating Lovren and the Liverpool defence - "They'll always let you down", he says (presumably with a shake of his head).
GOAL! Tottenham 2 Liverpool 0 (Son 12')
Lovren has a shocker again, as he charges to meet Lloris long throw out but completely misses it. Kane heads towards goal and rolls the ball across to Son, who slides his shot beyond Mignolet first time with his left foot from about 12 yards out. Dear, dear that was Sunday League level defending from Lovren.
What a turn that is by Winks, as he slips past a couple of Liverpool midfielders before trying to send Kane clear. The pass is over-hit, but so encouraging watching how positive Winks is when he gets on the ball.
Lots of hustle and bustle since the goal, but no chances for either side.
That goal came from a Tottenham throw-in, and there looked to be absolutely no danger. Liverpool though have an amazing ability to turn a nothing situation into a clear goal-scoring opportunity. All Trippier was really trying to do with his pass was turn the Liverpool back four, and Kane could barely believe his luck as he strolled through unopposed. The finish was a fairly simple one in the end, but Kane still managed to make it absolutely perfect and comfortably beyond the covering defenders.
GOAL! Tottenham 1 Liverpool 0 (Kane 4')
Oh dear, calamitous defending from Liverpool, as Kane is played onside by Lovren from Trippier's chip forward and the striker nips in front of Mignolet and shoots home left-footed. Why on earth was Lovern trying to play offside there?
Firmino and Salah combine well down the Liverpool right, but Aurier gets across well to make the tackle.
It looks like Tottenham may actually be starting in a 3-5-2 rather than a 3-4-2-1, with Son partnering Kane up front. And Trippier must have shotgunned the right wing-back position because it's Aurier who's starting on the left of the back five.
We're under way at Wembley.
Teams are out
Tottenham can go level on points with Manchester United in second place should they win, while Liverpool will match Chelsea and Arsenal's tally of 16 points if they claim the three points.
Spurs are really going for this again and putting a lot of faith in young Harry Winks, who was so impressive midweek against Real Madrid. Winks is paired in central midfield with Christian Eriksen in what is an attacking line-up that includes Son Heung-min and Dele Alli behind Harry Kane.
For Liverpool, it'll be interesting to see how the recalled James Milner gets on. He's found Premier League starts hard to come by but gets the nod in central midfield today after an excellent display against Maribor on Tuesday night.
So on we move to the second part of today's north London v Merseyside double header, as high-flying Tottenham welcome Liverpool to Wembley Stadium.
Both teams are fresh from successful European jaunts, with Spurs buoyed by their very impressive 1-1 draw at Real Madrid, and Liverpool heading to London on the back of a 7-0 win against Maribor.
In the Premier League, Tottenham have enjoyed a much more steady start to the season, and can go joint with second-placed Manchester United with a win today.
Liverpool are down in eighth after a frustrating few weeks that has seen them win just one league game in five. A victory today though would take Jurgen Klopp's side to within just a point of Tottenham, who haven't beaten Liverpool in the league in their last nine meetings.
One thing we can expect for sure today is a huge amount of relentless running and energy from both sides. Mauricio Pochettino and Klopp set their sides up to press high up the pitch, and it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in that regard, or whether - as happened in the equivalent fixture last season - they end up cancelling each other out.
You would expect Liverpool to be the fresher of the two teams after their cakewalk in Slovenia, but Tottenham have an amazing capacity for regeneration under Poch.
My prediction for what it's worth is a 1-1 draw.
Our new columnist on Harry Kane
Our latest recruit, Jamie Carragher, wrote in his latest column that Harry Kane has not yet reached a 'world class' level. See if you agree with him after reading what he said here.
The teams are in
It looks like Kieran Tripper will start at left wing-back for Spurs, who have two ready-made replacements in Ben Davies AND Danny Rose on the bench.
Spurs return to the 3-4-2-1 formation they tend to go with after playing with two up front at Real Madrid in midweek. Fernando Llorente drops to the bench.
Liverpool, meanwhile, hand a start to James Milner in midfield. Otherwise it's a familiar looking team.
What is it?
When is it?
Sunday October 22 - ie today.
What time is kick-off?
It's a 4pm kick-off.
What TV channel is it on?
You can watch this match on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Ultra HD. Alternatively, you can follow all the action right here with Charlie Eccleshare.
What does the PL table look like?
What is the team news?
Danny Rose could make his first Premier League appearance in almost nine months when Tottenham host Liverpool on Sunday.
Rose has been out with a knee injury and is unlikely to start at Wembley but could be named among the substitutes. Ben Davies has recovered from illness and Dele Alli is back after serving a Champions League suspension.
Mousa Dembele (hip) and Victor Wanyama (knee) are both out, however, while the game will also come too soon for Erik Lamela, who is close to overcoming an injury to his hips.
Provisional squad: Lloris, Vorm, Gazzaniga, Rose, Davies, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Foyth, Trippier, Aurier, Dier, Sissoko, Georgiou, Oakley-Boothe, Alli, Eriksen, Son, Llorente, Kane.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is set for a recall for Sunday's trip to Tottenham.
The midfielder was rested for the 7-0 Champions League victory over Maribor but will return at Wembley, meaning that James Milner could well miss out despite his impressive midweek performance.
Simon Mignolet will return in goal and Joe Gomez could come into defence as Jurgen Klopp continues to rotate his young full-backs.
Provisional squad: Mignolet, Gomez, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Coutinho, Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Robertson, Milner, Grujic, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sturridge, Solanke.
What are they saying?
"A 1-1 draw?" the Argentine said in response to the question at Tottenham's training complex on Friday, ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash with Liverpool.
"It proved we can compete with the top clubs," he said. "Which was the plan when we started three years ago."
"The difference is that Harry is much more a part of the game when he is not scoring - but I am pretty sure Lukaku can make these steps too.
"We avoided the balls to Lukaku and that must be a key for Harry as well but if we are too concentrated on one player then Dele Alli is everywhere or Eriksen shoots from everywhere with decisive passes.
"It is a good team so you cannot be concentrated on one player.
"It will be a big challenge for them in the next few years because Harry is not only one of the best strikers in Europe, he is one of the best strikers in the world, 100 per cent."
What are the odds?
- Tottenham to win 5/4
- Draw 45/17
- Liverpool to win 32/13
What's our prediction?
Spurs will be hoping to capitalise on momentum from the impressive Champions League draw away to Real Madrid – and for Mauricio Pochettino to finally beat Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool are on a run of one win in five in the league and cannot afford a slip.
Jason Burt's prediction - 2-2