Liverpool pay price at Spurs
Liverpool paid the price for a slow start as they surrendered their unbeaten run in a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
Gareth Bale was at his flying, unplayable best in the opening quarter-of-an-hour and set up Aaron Lennon's opener before hitting a free-kick for Spurs' second.
Liverpool improved after the break and dominated at White Hart Lane before Bale's own goal, when he was unfortunate to deflect Lennon's goalline clearance, gave them hope.
But Tottenham held on for a victory to follow the weekend win against West Ham United and ensure Andre Villas-Boas' team continue to recover from three previous Premier League defeats.
Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool, meanwhile, gave up their eight-game unbeaten run and it was a familiar story of wasted chances and a need to find goalscoring support for Luis Suarez.
The win, which moves Spurs above Arsenal and Everton into fifth, did not come easily - but it did remind the club's critics that in Bale they have a man capable of winning a match almost single-handedly.
Playing at the same high tempo that helped them to destroy West Ham, Tottenham flew out of the blocks and stamped their authority on the game from the off on a bitterly cold night in North London.
Bale was key to Tottenham's quick start and the early pressure paid off as they took the lead in style in the seventh minute, with the Welshman collecting the ball on the halfway line and breezing past three players before squaring to Lennon, who tapped home from close range.
Nine minutes later, Bale was the goalscorer as he took a five-yard run up at a free-kick and despatched a powerful drive which may have deflected off the wall, completely bamboozling Reina, who could only stand and watch the ball sail in to his right.
Liverpool pushed for an equaliser after the break but they almost conceded a third when Martin Skrtel's poor clearance set Jermain Defoe free before Clint Dempsey selfishly muscled his team-mate off the ball and shot wide.
Spurs were struggling to get on the ball and their best threat came from set-plays. Bale fizzed another long-range curler just wide in the 68th minute.
But two minutes later, the former Southampton man unwittingly put Liverpool back in the game, as Lennon's goalline clearance from a Steven Gerrard header smacked him in the face to fly into the home net
Liverpool pushed for an equaliser but could not find a vital goal.