Football: Mario Balotelli makes winning debut as Liverpool crush Tottenham 3-0

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli (left) shields the ball from Tottenham Hotspurs' Younes Kaboul during their English Premier League football match at White Hart Lane in London on Aug 31, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Liverpool's Mario Balotelli (left) shields the ball from Tottenham Hotspurs' Younes Kaboul during their English Premier League football match at White Hart Lane in London on Aug 31, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

London (AFP) - Liverpool rolled out the red carpet for Mario Balotelli as they marked the Italy striker's debut with an impressive 3-0 win over Tottenham on Sunday.

Balotelli started as the centre of attention at White Hart Lane on his return to the Premier League after a £16 million (S$33 million) transfer from AC Milan.

But the controversial former Manchester City player was eventually overshadowed by a majestic display from his new team-mates which emphasised they can thrive despite the sale of star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona.

Balotelli delivered a typically erratic show, offering glimpses of his talent but also missing several chances before being replaced in the 61st minute.

But his presence seemed to revitalise Liverpool after Monday's loss at Manchester City and Raheem Sterling opened the scoring early in the first-half before Steven Gerrard's penalty soon after the interval was followed by Alberto Moreno's solo effort.

Brendan Rodgers' 100th match in charge of Liverpool brought his 56th victory, equalling the records of Bill Shankly and Rafael Benitez over the same period, and the Reds boss can expect many more memorable afternoons on the evidence on a scintillating display which ended Tottenham's four-match winning run in ruthless style.