LONDON – Mario Balotelli is finally off the mark in the Premier League as his tap in seven minutes from time gave Liverpool a 3-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
If any striker was to make the headlines you would have thought it was going to be Spursâ€™ in-form starlet Harry Kane.
But, although the 21-year-old did get on the scoresheet, it was Italy international Balotelli who was the hero as his goal handed Brendan Rodgersâ€™ side all three points, sending them to within a point of their opponents and just three off third placed Southampton.
Tottenhamâ€™s high defensively line looked fragile from the start against Liverpool and when a long boot upfield from Simon Mignolet escaped Daniel Sturridge, Lazar Markovic scarpered into the box and fired a tame shot beyond Hugo Lloris, who should have kept the strike out.
Their lead would only last 11 minutes as Spurs picked apart Brendan Rodgersâ€™ defence and when Erik Lamela slipped Harry Kane through on goal there was only one outcome as the youngster fired the ball into the back of the net.
The Reds got themselves back ahead after 53 minutes when Danny Rose clumsily took out Sturridge in the penalty area and Steven Gerrard converted the spot-kick.
And Spurs, despite a performance lacking their usual guile, clawed themselves back into the game again as Dembele nudged the ball in from close range.
But Balotelli, a man who has so often been a disappointment, sent Anfield wild as he crept behind Eric Dier to side-foot Adam Lallanaâ€™s cross home.
Elsewhere, Arsenal moved into the top four as they beat Leicester City 2-1.
The Foxes had started brightly with two attempts from Riyad Mahrez going close but Arsenal soon were in front as Laurent Koscielny slammed home a Mesut Ozil corner.
The German international has found life tough at Arsenal but since returning from injury is showing flashes of his best form and he helped the Gunners go 2-0 up as his rifled strike came back off Mark Schwarzer and Theo Walcott was able to tuck the rebound into the far corner.
Leicester gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Andrej Kramaric, their Â£9million January signing, fired low past David Ospina from 16 yards out, for his first for the club.
But Nigel Pearsonâ€™s men could not muster another goal leaving them five points from safety at the foot of the table.
Queens Park Rangers claimed their first away win of the season as they dispatched Sunderland 2-0 on Tyneside.
Leroy Fer headed the visitors in front after 18 minutes as he met Matt Phillipsâ€™ superb ball in from the right and nodded home at the back post.
The visitors werenâ€™t used to having an away lead but moments before the break they found themselves two goals to the good as Bobby Zamora crashed another Phillips cross into the top right corner.
Hull City earned a vital victory as they heaped misery on Aston Villa with a 2-0 win at the KC Stadium
The Tigers took the lead as Dame Nâ€™Doye threaded through Nikica Jelavic and the ex-Everton man cracked in a heavily deflected strike past Brad Guzan.
And Nâ€™Doye killed the game off 16 minutes from time with a goal on his full debut, which helps Steve Bruceâ€™s side up to 15th and drops Villa into the relegation zone. – talkSPORT