Liverpool reasserted their English Premier League title credentials with a straightforward 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday as Mario Balotelli made his return to English football. After Raheem Sterling had put Liverpool ahead in the early stages, Steven Gerrard scored a penalty and Alberto Moreno netted his first goal for the club to give Brendan Rodgers victory in his 100th game as manager.
Balotelli started for Liverpool after his £16m move from AC Milan on Monday and he produced an enterprising display before being withdrawn in the 62nd minute. The result saw Liverpool bounce back from a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in their previous outing and ended Tottenham's 100 per cent start to the campaign under new coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Back in England after a 19-month stint in Milan, former City striker Balotelli almost crowned his return with an early goal, only for Hugo Lloris to parry his header from Daniel Sturridge's cross. The 24-year-old Italy striker's finishing was to prove wayward throughout the afternoon, but it did not prevent his side from taking control of the game.
They made the breakthrough in the eighth minute. Sturridge released Jordan Henderson with a ball down the right flank and the England midfielder played a low cross across the box that Sterling tucked away at the far post.
After Emmanuel Adebayor had lobbed over and Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet parried a fierce drive from Nacer Chadli, Gerrard doubled the visitors' lead from the spot in the 49th minute after Eric Dier pulled back Joe Allen. Moreno sealed victory on the hour with a memorable first goal for Liverpool, dispossessing Spurs substitute Andros Townsend on halfway and surging into the box before drilling a shot into the bottom-right corner.
"We need to learn and improve," said Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino. "Today was a very tough game for us."
Sanchez breaks duck, Villa see off Hull
With Olivier Giroud sidelined by a broken tibia, Yaya Sanogo started up front for Arsenal at promoted Leicester and he played a central role in the visitors' 20th-minute opener.
The French striker could not find a way past Kasper Schmeichel from Santi Cazorla's dinked pass, but Alexis Sanchez followed up to slam home his first league goal since signing from Barcelona. Arsenal's lead was to last only two minutes, however, as Jeff Schlupp motored down the left wing before delivering an inviting cross that Leonardo Ulloa powered past Wojciech Szczesny with a firm header.
Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny hurt himself in a clash of heads with Schlupp when the score was still 0-0 and he made way for Calum Chambers shortly after Ulloa's goal. Leicester came closest to scoring a winner, but Ulloa clipped an effort into the side-netting after cutting inside Chambers and Szczesny produced a diving save to thwart substitute Jamie Vardy. The result left Arsene Wenger's side four points below leaders Chelsea in seventh place in the table, while Leicester moved up to 15th.
In the day's other early game, Aston Villa won 2-1 at home to Hull City to preserve their unbeaten start to the campaign. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann put the hosts two up at half-time at Villa Park, with Nikica Jelavic replying for previously unbeaten Hull in the 74th minute.