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Liverpool gets back to winning ways

Liverpool showed their ability to cope with the loss of star striker Luis Suarez.

FILE: Youngster Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for the men from Merseyside. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Liverpool showed their ability to cope with the loss of star striker Luis Suarez, when they comfortably eased past Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

The match also saw a debut for Mario Balotelli who didn't find the back of the net, but had a lively performance on his return to the Premier League.

Balotelli made amends for his wasteful finishing on his Liverpool debut with his impressive all round performance and positive work ethic.

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann scored as Aston Villa maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 victory against Hull City at Villa Park.

"It was great link up play by Daniel (Sturridge) and Jordan (Henderson). The manager has been telling me to get inside the post and try add to my goal tally and that's what I've done," Sterling told Sky Sports.

"Mario and Daniel up front is always a threat and I've got to try be in the box to get some goals."

The result allowed fifth-placed Liverpool to move level with Tottenham in the standings with six points.

Balotelli nearly enjoyed a dream start inside three minutes but his powerful close-range header was parried by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Spurs had been joint Premier League leaders after winning their opening two league games without conceding a goal but were left reeling by Liverpool's trademark explosive start.

Sturridge and Henderson linked up well and the latter's well weighted cross was steered in at an acute angle at the far post by Sterling in the seventh minute.

Tottenham took just one point from eight games against last season's top four, conceding 27 goals and scoring just two, and Sterling's goal signalled the start of another forgettable day.

Sturridge and Balotelli had chances to extend their lead but were thwarted by a combination of poor finishing and the athletic Lloris.

Spurs were second best for much of the first half but could have drawn level in the 42nd minute had it not been for Simon Mignolet's stunning save that blocked Nacer Chadli's rasping shot.

Liverpool started the second half with the same intent they displayed in the first, with Gerrard coolly converting a penalty after Joe Allen had been needlessly pulled back by Eric Dier.

Moreno, who had been at fault for Stevan Jovetic's first goal as Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City on Monday, added a third with a superb solo run and finish after he had dispossessed Andros Townsend on the halfway line.

Aston Villa suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat against third-tier Leyton Orient in the League Cup on Wednesday but showed no lingering effects of that loss.

The lively Agbonlahor opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a pinpoint finish from Weimann's clever lay off.

The hosts doubled their lead after 36 minutes when Weimann capped a flowing move with an accurate shot.

Villa were coasting but were made to sweat when Nikica Jelavic headed home in the 74th minute to set up a tense finale.

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